9 SEA consumer personas born out of COVID-19

Consumers worldwide have been reacting differently to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are unhappy that they will need to stay home while others either binge watch TV shows or carry on with their workouts at home. For marketers who are struggling to effectively target consumers during this period, here are nine consumer personas identified by ADA across Southeast Asia which you can rely on to effectively engage your audience.

1. Adaptive shopper

These consumers are concerned about being able to continue shopping and are turning to digital marketplaces to fulfill their needs. This is especially prominent in Indonesia, where usage of shopping apps spiked on 16 March and increased alongside the number of COVID-19 cases. The consumers in this sector are mainly mid to high in affluence and comprise those who stay at home or are out and about.

With about 735,000 of such individuals based in Indonesia, ADA said apps such as Carousell and Lazada are seeing an increase in downloads and usage.

A great way to communicate with the consumers under these personas is to offer solutions as well as a good customer experience, and be reliable so as to allow consumers to have a peace of mind.

One brand that did this right was Lazada Indonesia, which stopped its cash on delivery option, ADA said.

ada adaptive shopper

2. Bored homebody

Those who are self-quarantined or isolated are trying to through this period using more entertainment apps. This is evident in about 3.2 individuals in Malaysia, where the usage of entertainment apps such as Merge Puzzle and Happy Colour spiked on 16 March. According to ADA, this persona cuts across all levels of affluence.

To engage them, brands should produce light-hearted, distracting online content that is also playful and fun.

Citing Astro Malaysia as an example, ADA said it opened access to Astro Go for free for all Malaysians to keep them entertained during the Movement Control Order.

ada bored homebody

3. Social citizen

The increase in use of social and news apps to gather information has become a new normal. With five million users based in the Philippines, these group of people are in a different mental space. Among the list of popular news sources in the Philippines include SHAREit, SKOUT - Live and Viber Messenger.

Marketers would have to break their messages apart to become more relevant. 

Reliable and relevant information would certainly draw this group of consumers, who mainly stay at home, towards your brand. Companies looking to target this persona should also ensure their content is sharable, such as Clorox Philippines, which created tips on using its products to tackle COVID-19.

ada social citizen


4. Market observer

The pandemic has also seen an increase in usage of financial apps during the weekdays. Prominent in Singapore with a reach of about 225,000 individuals, ADA identified these consumers to be of high affluence and mainly stay at home. The apps they mainly look at include Investing.com, Stocks and XE Currency.

Brands targeting this sector are advised to show that they are providing economical support and implementing forward-thinking measures.

For example, DBS Singapore offered relief funds specifically for business owners and accelerated contact-free banking.

ada market observer

5. WFH professional

These group of people are using more productivity apps as they shift to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, which include screen recorders, WiFi finders and camera-to-PDF scanners among others. Appoximately 750,000 people of this segment are based in Indonesia. Their favourite apps include Instabridge, iClean and Mobizen.

To reach then, brands should share tips to remain productive, healthy and efficient.

Tokopedia, for example, created productivity with the hashtag #DiRumahAjaDulu to help those working from home.

ada wfh professional

6. Resilient one

Interestingly, ADA found that there are some consumers who have not changed their digital habits much. This behaviour is evident in about 450,000 individuals based in Singapore, whose frame of mind has not shifted while they are waiting for the situation to clear. 

Marketers can win their hearts with light-hearted, distracting online content.

One example of light-hearted content would be Time Out Singapore rebranding to Time In and curating content for best food deliveries and virtual attractions in the country.

ada resilient one

7. Health nut

Besides the bored homebody and WFH professionals, there are individuals who also prioritise their physical and mental health during the crisis. According to ADA, 80,000 of this segment are based in the Philippines. This group of consumers mainly use apps including Relax Melodies and Calorie Counter to maintain their physical fitness.

Brands should aim to be inspirational and produce uplifting messages that focus on wellness, health, body and mind.

Vegan Philippines is an example of the brand which focused on the wellness of its consumers by concentrating on online deliveries instead of in-store purchases.

ada health nut

8. Home fitness freak

Going beyond health, there are people who want to come back from this situation strong and in shape. About 185,000 are located in the Philippines. These fitness freaks mainly use apps such as MyFitnessPal, Best Abs Fitness and Women Workout to stay in shape.

Find a good way to help them escape boredom at home and maintain their physical fitness.

This could be with deals and forward-looking messaging. Fitness First Philippines, for example, has been enticing this group of consumers with its exercise sessions on Facebook Live.

ada home fitness freak

9. Sad and confused

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some have decreased their usage of entertainment apps, and are physically and digitally inactive. Apps such as Worms Zone, Brain Out and Draw Climber have seen a dip in usage. About 7.5 million people of this segment are based in Thailand.

Marketers can seize this opportunity to produce messages that are comforting in an upbeat and uplifting way, as well as suggests activities to do to tackle their emotions.

The Dawn Wellness Centre Thailand, for example, offers free consulting over the phone.

ada sad and confused


Need some creativity in your messaging. Well follow us on our newly-launched Instagram page for some inspiring communication tips!

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