Following the sudden disruptions of the pandemic, people emerged in 2021 with a realization that some changes weren’t temporary after all. This prompted a sense of introspection and a reevaluation of their values and lifestyle choices. As a result, they looked for more comfort and ease in their lives, and shifted their focus to the things that matter most to them.
People have endured many waves of change on the global and local level over the past few years. As people try to embrace new unknowns in their lives, they’re reexamining former lifestyle choices, once-familiar ways of life, and the comfort of established routines.
Emotional wellbeing is predicted to be a key focus for people in 2022 as they gravitate toward emotional acceptance and dedicating time to feel. In a recent survey, half of consumers in APAC said the pandemic inspired them to reevaluate what was important to them in life, with the most significant shifts in priority being their approach to finance and savings, time with loved ones, and a greater sense of self-care and “treat yourself” mentality. Another recent study showed that COVID-19 has spurred investors in Hong Kong and Singapore towards responsible investing, with nearly two-thirds of respondents saying that ESG and sustainability are now important factors in how they select investments.13
From small everyday upgrades to more major life decisions, searches are showing how people are taking stock of their lives and assessing how closely their choices are aligning with what truly matters to them. Evidence of this shift is seen in the “Great Resignation,” a global trend where a significant number of people are leaving their jobs voluntarily. In fact, the 2021 Work Trend Index report found that compared with other regions, APAC workers are most likely to change professional paths, with 47% considering changing employers and 56% planning a career change.14
Such significant, widespread shifts in life priorities among consumers should be studied closely by brands. The changing core values and priorities of people are often a strong indicator of how they will behave as consumers. But it's not just customers that businesses need to care about. Given how many people are reassessing their careers in APAC, employee satisfaction and wellbeing should be top priorities for attracting and retaining top talent.
As people spring-clean their lives, there’s a window of opportunity for businesses to reconnect and convince. How can you persuade your customers and employees to continue to make your brand a part of their new lives? How will you show the value your brand can bring to their newfound priorities?
Acceptance of a blended life
Even as restrictions ease, it seems a blended way of living is likely to remain. Searches reflect this adaptation to a more flexible future as people begin taking charge of their own time and space, particularly at home. Signs point to a semi-remote future of work as well, and according to Accenture, APAC is readier than other regions to adopt a hybrid working model.15
People are upgrading their homes as they accept a more permanent way of hybrid living. We see more than 25% growth in search interest in “indoor bicycles” in South Korea and Malaysia, and 45% growth in Singaporeans searching for “ergonomic chairs at home”. Indonesia saw a 25% growth in search interest in “solar power” and “electricity saving” as people look for longer-term ways to lessen the toll of stay-at-home life on their electricity bills.
Reevaluation of finances
We see people changing the way they look at their finances. While some looked for ways to put their savings to work through investments, others searched for deals, discounts, and ways to stretch their dollar. Ahead of 2021’s holiday season, most shoppers planned to either buy less or hold off on buying gifts until they were on sale, due to COVID-19’s impact on their finances.16
Quality time with loved ones
People in APAC have placed more value on spending time with their families, and some even see it as more important than being financially secure or successful.17 This is echoed in searches, with consumers looking for moments of quality time with their loved ones.
Self care, introspection, and the reevaluation of lifestyle choices
Consumers today view wellness through a broader lens, valuing physical, emotional, and mental health. As people reevaluate their lifestyle choices, we see introspection and consideration for holistic wellness playing a bigger role in their decision-making processes.
Evidence of the Great Resignation is showing across some countries in APAC as people reconsider their careers. Search interest in "resignation letter" has grown by more than 25% in Australia and New Zealand. India has seen an increase in search interest in "resignation letter due to personal reasons," and in South Korea and Pakistan, people are looking for tips on "how to write a resignation letter."
From reactive behaviors and short-term solutions, to a greater acceptance of our new blended lives, searches show that people are emerging from the pandemic with updated priorities. As people reevaluate their choices, brands and businesses should also be updating how they show the value they offer, not just externally to their customers, but also internally to their employees.
“The next decade will be defined by a state of accelerated disruption. In order to enable people in the region to achieve better, more equitable outcomes in the face of increasing disruptions, businesses need to stay curious and cultivate a desire to understand what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t, to uncover and refine an understanding of users’ true needs.”
Today, as shoppers look for the brands that best align with what they need and value, up to 75% are buying from newly discovered brands rather than familiar ones.20 As consumers look to be empowered and confident about their purchase decisions, Search ranks as a top touchpoint for providing them with relevant and helpful information.
Tap into the power of Search and automation to grow your brands discoverability.
Fifteen percent of queries every day are brand new searches.21 By broadening your keyword match type to with Broad Match with Smart Bidding, you’re able to automatically adjust your campaigns to capture the different ways consumers are looking for your products, and act on new opportunities as they arise.
Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance, a leader in South Korea’s nonlife insurance industry, leveraged Broad Match to expand its generic Search keyword strategy. It successfully increased the discoverability of its website and offerings, unlocking +16% conversions at a -3% cost per conversion.
When consumers research, they don’t always have a specific product in mind yet. Responsive Search Ads can put your product in the spotlight with personalized ads that are relevant to the shopper.
Create data-driven marketing cycles to keep up with evolving needs.
An adaptable advertising strategy allows you to act on what matters most to consumers in the moment, and adopt a test and learn approach for sustainable optimization.
Get inspired by APAC industry leaders, who share how an experimental approach helps their marketing strategies stay data-driven and agile, and turn uncertainty into business growth opportunities.
Consider owned, direct-to-consumer channels (a brand.com and app property) that can enable you to build a bespoke brand presence and experience, and showcase your brand values and consumer offerings without compromise. They also give you the freedom to experiment and evolve your platforms to make your brand stand out even more.
During times of reevaluation and change, attracting and retaining top talent becomes ever more critical to ensuring sustainable business growth.
Recognize the importance of purpose beyond pay.
Nurture your employees as internal stakeholders and representatives of your brand.
To encourage employees to find their unique purpose and build a workplace where people enjoy their work and are engaged, Unilever Sri Lanka ran a series of Discover Your Purpose workshops. The sessions combine e-learning with personal connections to challenge personal growth.