Reinventing Ramadan & Eid Festivities In "Restricted Living"
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
Since mid-April, with the implementation of the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy, Indonesia has entered the “Restricted Living” stage during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has inevitably led to significant changes in the traditions and patterns of consumer behavior in welcoming and celebrating Ramadhan and Idul Fitri, that the industry players need to reinvent the atmosphere of this big annual festive in different ways in order to achieve positive growth. So according to Nielsen’s latest study on Ramadan and Idul Fitri in the time of ‘restricted living’.
Every year in Indonesia, there are several traditions carried out during Ramadan and Idul Fitri, such as organising iftar and social events by distributing food packages, and also sending gifts to relatives and business relations. Besides this, of course there is Mudik, the tradition of traveling back to hometown and gathering with relatives at home which is popularly called “open house”. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a very significant change to these traditions and also affected the consumption patterns of FMCG goods.
In 2019, the growth of products included in the festive category such as Syrup, Margarine and Carbonated Soft Drinks can reach 300 percent. However, this year, the festive category product growth is at a similar level to the growth of COVID-19 related products such as Vitamins and Wet Tissue which only reached above 20 percent, even below the growth of Liquid Hand Washing Soap that reaches above 100 percent.
The government’s ban on going home will also impact the growth of several categories such as Travel Essentials, Personal Care and Impulsive categories. Meanwhile, modern trades in small cities have to rely heavily on local residents, as sales in modern stores will decrease compared to 2018 and 2019, because there are no travelers from big cities who stop by to shop at those stores.
The conditions mentioned above have caused significant changes to the traditional patterns of Indonesians. Breaking fast with friends and relatives in the restaurant has been replaced by a meal with the family, serving self-cooked food at home. There is no “open house” or large family gathering, so the relevance of beauty products and fashion is lower. This year there are even uncertainties about the Idul Fitri Festive Allowance (THR) for some people, which caused consumers to prioritise shopping for their basic needs.
Those changes have become a challenge for brand owners and retailers, but at the same time they also open new opportunities. Indrasena Patmawidjaja (Dede), Managing Director of Nielsen Connect Indonesia, explained: “There are three things brand owners and retailers have to see as opportunities. First, today is the right time to continue to engage with consumers. Create a positive atmosphere and the joy of Idul Fitri festive through advertisements on TV, for example. Remind consumers that even if they are at home and only communicate with families through online media, a good and neat appearance is still important. Then, prepare an online platform to meet the needs of consumers with quick service. Second, build consumer’s trust. Show empathy in this difficult time, make goods packages at affordable prices that are equipped with shipping and pickup services to make consumers’ life easier. Retailers can also create Ramadhan gift packages containing not only products from the Food and Beverage categories but also from Beauty and Personal Care categories, or categories related to COVID-19 such as Liquid Hand Washing Soap or Hand Sanitiser. Another way is to collaborate with charity organisations to distribute packages of basic foods and staples.”
Dede believes that those two things will be able to re-create the joy of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri for consumers. He also added the third important point, i.e.Creativity. Brands and retailers can support the tradition of sharing by ensuring the availability of stock and providing packaging services. FMCG producers especially in the Food and Beverage categories can engage their consumers in a virtual cooking creativity competition , or, telecommunications companies providing special packages for families to conduct online gatherings on Idul Fitri day.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time, but even in the most difficult times there are always opportunities. We believe that if brand owners and retailers can realise these three things: Engage, Trust and Creativity. Then they will be able to win the hearts of consumers and seize opportunities for positive business growth during Ramadan and Idul Fitri this year,” Dede concludes.
Originally published by Nielsen.
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