In a webinar organized on the subject of consumer behavior during COVID-19, the representatives of an app-based finance and budget management service, Hysab Kytab, presented a Pakistan-specific report that showed some drastic changes that have occurred in the consumer behaviors as of late.
The panel of hosts featured Mr. Yasir Ilyas who presented the report, Ms. Javeria Haseeb who Moderated the session, and CEO Hysab Kytab, Mr. Viqar Islam who presented some valuable insights into the ongoing developments.
In the report, it was told that there has been a 70% decline in the amount spent on eating at the restaurants from February onwards, and an additional 21% decline during the month of Ramadan.
As for the grocery business, things have been looking up since there has been a 58% bump in the amount spent on groceries during the said timeline and an additional 10% increase during the month of Ramadan owing to bulk buying.
Mr. Veqar Islam, CEO of Hysab Kytab shared some thought-provoking insights on the development and said, “One thing we know for sure is that this virus is here to stay for a while. And since we’re all in it for a long haul, the consumer behaviors will keep on changing with time over the next couple of years and the businesses will keep on looking for a workaround to tackle the situation. Interesting developments are afoot.”
The report further suggested that the fuel and transportation spending had also decreased by 31% from the beginning of March till mid-April. However, there had been a bump in the fuel and transportation spending by 16% during Ramadan.
Based on these figures, Mr. Islam stated, “This is an interesting development on many fronts and we need to encourage the employers to move the organizational functions online to curb the spread. Since it’s a long time affair, the ‘Work From Home’ protocol is likely to play an important role to achieve economic as well as social stability.”
Also, as per the reported data, the spending on ride-hailing services decreased by 78% whereas on the delivery service, it increased by 128% over the aforementioned timeline. Furthermore, the average amount spent on online shopping has also gone from PKR. 400 to PKR. 700.
Pertaining to this development, Mr. Islam said, “We’re about to witness a huge rise in the usage of internet for shopping and transactions. In a similar discussion with the CEO of Daraz, I was told that the number of sellers on Daraz has grown by 35%. This implies that, with the rise in the number of both buyers and sellers, we’re about to see the beginning of a whole new paradigm.”
It was further stated in the report that the traffic on online streaming channels increased by 108% from February to March and then another 48% increase was observed from March to April. Commenting on this data, Mr. Islam stated, “This is a whole new market that is yet to be approached by Pakistan. Online channels such as Netflix certainly have a strong foothold in the local market but the competitors will also have to come up with their own niche and make hay while the sun shines.”
The report also stated that there has been a monumental 324% increase in donations over the course of the pandemic thus far, however, a 3% decrease was also seen in Ramadan. Mr. Yasir Ilyas of Hysab Kytab expressed a sense of pride in the fact that there has been such a significant increase in the amount of charity being given during these testing times.
There were also a few additional useful insights about the shifting consumer spending habits that were presented by the panels in the Q&A session. The insights were as follows:
- Card-based transactions and spending are likely to increase significantly.
- Baby boomers avoid online buying since they are less tech-savvy and prefer simplicity. But that trend will change once the Generation-Z and millennials enter the earning community.
- The importance of savings has increased manifold. Economies are crumbling and as a result, societies are suffering, jobs are being lost and poverty is on the rise. Therefore, we’re highly likely to see a steep positive trend in the savings habits of the public.
- Medical expenses have increased among the general public, but not to a significant degree.
- Finance management strategies and budgeting platforms are becoming more important. COVID-19 is prompting people to rely on intelligent digital solutions such as Hysab Kytab to address the said issue.
- The government is likely to benefit greatly from the platforms such as Hysab Kytab. The resources can be allocated according to the trends reflected in the data pertinent to various industries.
- There’s likely to be a large sum of disposable income accumulated amid the current situation, which is likely to be directed towards charity and investments in business ventures.
- Financial discipline shall become paramount and greatly valued by individuals as well as the organizations.
The session presented valuable insights based on actual data that is particular to the Pakistani market. It is something that’s been rarely done before and is likely to help out the individuals, businesses, and government alike in making educated opinions and decisions during the crisis at hand.