Consumers around the world are facing unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 crisis
continues to disrupt their employment, travel and lifestyles. In Egypt, the COVID-19 crisis
started mid-February in Egypt, escalated in March, leading to suspension of prayers at
mosques on March 21, and then to a curfew in April, eased for Ramadan.
GfK conducted the Consumer Pulse study for a deeper understanding of current and future
consumer behaviours, lifestyles, and moods across 30 markets globally, including Egypt.
Polling between 500 to 1000 consumers from each market, bi-weekly, the findings of the
GfK study cover areas such as spending habits, media and product consumption and travel
and mobility trends.
“The anxiety and uncertainty resulting from the pandemic have brought about significant
adjustment to consumers’ habits and future plans,” said Rahul Dixit, Head of Digital
Research, Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP), GfK. “Insights from GfK’s study
helps identify signs of disruption for brands and businesses so that opportunities and risks
are seen early and managed effectively.”
Change in outlook and spending habits are highlighted in GfK’s initial reports
Consumers in Egyptare concerned about COVID-19 (89%), the economy (83%) and
employment (81%) but are optimistic. The survey data collected during week of April 20
and May 4, indicates that 37 percent of polled households anticipate an improvement in the
country’s economy and 50 percent in their own finances over the next 12 months. Polls
signify confidence in the National Health authorities as well as WHO.
Data highlights opportunities and threats to brands in the current situation as 23 percent of
consumers encountered out-of-stock products and 26 percent confirmed trial of new brands.
Consumer spend in Technical Consumer Goods reportedgrowth
New practices such as home schooling and working from home helped cushion the impact
of COVID-19 pandemic on the IT sector. According to GfK Point of Sales tracking, a
marginal one percent growth in sales value of Egypt’s IT sector was recorded in March
2020, as compared to March 2019.
More time spent at home led to an impressive nine percent volume growth in the Consumer
Electronics sector in March, driven largely by PTV. Another growth sector during the same
period was smartphone, which generated seven percent more sales.
GfK’s research indicates an optimistic albeit changed outlook for Travel & Tourism
Forced confinement has whetted the appetite for travel. Over six in 10 (63%) of all respondents are already thinking of splurging on their next holiday. However, there is a measure of caution in choosing destinations due to the turn of events. Two thirds of those polled prefer to stay within the country or travel to nearby destinations. Social distancing norms seem to have an impact on choice of transportation mode: private cars are the preferred mode of transport followed by trains and domestic flights, while cruise are the least preferred options.
Rise in consumption of media and advertising
More time at home has also resulted in an increase in media consumption and subsequently
higher exposure to advertising. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the respondents feel that they
are watching more ads now than before, and 47 percentsaid they are enjoying watching
them. Screen time has gone up on digital platforms and TV. Current affairs and news
bulletins compete with entertainment from drama and series. Video games, reading and
music now occupy more of consumers’ time.
The new reality has set in swiftly and changes are occurring constantly. GfK continues to
monitor the various segments of the economy on a bi-weekly basis to capture the mood of
the consumer and how it translates into parameters that affect business decisions.
“In a constantly evolving scenario, government measures to improve economic conditions, oil prices and politics among other factors add to the complexities for consideration. Decision makers in business who have access to research will benefit from statistically sound data and will be able to move faster, more surely,”Rahul concluded