WFH: IS WORKING FROM HOME A NEW NORM?
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declares the latest evolving novel coronavirus or COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
Earlier on March 2, Indonesian authorities had identified the first case within the borders, resulting in the Government’s responding policy to rapidly evolve whilst recommending “work from home (WFH)” policy along with other preventive measures such as temporary cease of business, taking leave, travel restriction, etc.
As of March 31, with the number of positive cases has reached 1,528 and the total death toll of 136, President Jokowi has declared COVID-19 a health emergency and imposes large-scale social restrictions.
From the previous BrandIQ report, we discussed how the COVID-19 situation shines the light on certain Ecommerce categories such as Health & Homecare, Groceries, etc. Southeast Asia shopping behavior has been shifting fast during the virus outbreak and staying home seemed to be the only way to get around it.
With WFH policy seems to be encouraged and enforced in Indonesia, we will walk you through the preparation of Indonesians we saw from their shopping habit.
ADAPTATION: INDONESIANS ARE GETTING REALLY GOOD ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE.
We use BrandIQ as a tool to collect data from 1st November 2019 – 26ht March 2020 on top categories related to work-life balance essentials to WFH. The variables include 11.11, 12.12 sales campaigns to display growth during the WFH period. However, Lazada Birthday on 27th March 2020 is excluded to reflect customer purchase behavior without steep discount influence.
Laptop is definitely not an everyday purchase; in fact, some might only buy a new one every half a decade. Nevertheless, growth in February purchase is fascinatingly reflective of the preparation of WFH policy. As essential as a laptop is for everyday operations, nevertheless, not every firm or business offers a laptop as personal equipment. One of our assumptions is small businesses making purchases for their employees to smoothen out the operation and maintain efficiency.
COVID-19 makes people read!! Yes! We finally crack the code on how to make people take up reading. Books sold massively in consecutive months. Staying home left us with not much to do so most of us find a way to occupy ourselves. Some buy recipe books, some read novels, and for those who can’t seem to relax with more time on their hands may have bought books for self-development in order to brush up new skills or further their careers.
Month-on-Month growth of categories related to WFH (period 1st Nov 19 – 26th Mar 20).
Working from home means you also have extra 2-3 hours a day. Yes, that is your daily commuting time from home-work-home if you live in the Greater Jakarta Area. This actually provides one essential life element, work-life balance, which we doubt Jakartans ever enjoy much. Some spend their leisure time shopping, some play games; and it seems to us that Indonesian loves to do both. Digital Games & Software and Digital Shopping Voucher have positive growth for consecutive months. Games top-up in March have dropped 100% Month-on-Month but this number is irrelevant when huge growth in February, 6900%, is the denominator. Online Game Top-up is a big thing.
Ultimately, working from home means you have to stay home. With the tropical climate in Indonesia, Air-conditioner has become a necessity. Most of the time, Indonesians can get away with the daylight heat because the office has an air-conditioning system or escape to the malls on weekends. COVID-19 eliminates our options and forces us to be at home on a wet-hot summer day. We see the growth from February and March for those who need a replacement for newer models or never had one installed.
BrandIQ is the first Ecommerce Analytics Platform to launch in Southeast Asia. The platform covers data collection from top regional marketplaces, spread over 6 countries.
STEREOTYPE: MEN CARE LESS ABOUT SKIN WHEN STAYING HOME.
BrandIQ also found distinct behavior between women vs men during WFH. The chart below displays the sales index of Skincare categories on both genders. We clearly see a trend of panic buying in February where everyone foresees the inevitable of COVID-19. However, buys of Men Skincare drastically drop in March while Women Skincare performs slightly better than in January. It rather resonates with gender stereotyping whereby men generally do not take care of their body and skin as much when they aren’t leaving the house.
Sales Index of Women vs Men’s Skincare from 1st Jan 2020 to 26th Mar 2020.
GROWTH: RAPID BEHAVIOUR SHIFTS INDUCE NEW REVENUE
As mentioned in our previous report, COVID-19 coincidentally promotes Ecommerce. However, in retrospect, the Ecommerce community is also making a tremendous effort to grow in this unfortunate event. The bubble chart below displays the share of new products – that has never been listed in a month before, against total sales of their own category. The recognition must be given to the community as they are very well responded to the situation by introducing brand-new products to the market in disastrous hours. 81% of Air Conditioner sales in March are new products as well as 60% and 93% of books in February and March, respectively.
Revenue Share of new product to shelf on 1st Jan 2020 to 26th Mar 2020.
There are lots of new brands and sellers emerging in Marketplaces during January to March 2020. “Gross” column displays total sales of new brands against the total of categories in the aforementioned period. Nonetheless, the nature of Laptop and Game Console & Software are very difficult to produce in pressing time hence, meager the growth.
DELAY THE INEVITABLE: New product listings strategy is possible in Indonesia because of the delay in the penetration of novel coronavirus. Neighbors such as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia had identified their first patients in late January, therefore Indonesian sellers are already running the business with anticipation when they have been hit and the outcome is as we’ve seen.
Until this moment, we should all accept that COVID-19 will change the way of life as we knew. Working from home could potentially become the new social norm. Work-life balance will no longer be just a word everybody takes for granted. Home entertainment might be the next big thing in the Ecommerce ecosystem.
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