The Financial Express

Covid changes consumer behaviour amid anxiety

| Updated: July 07, 2020 19:36:55

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Focus Bangla file photo Focus Bangla file photo

Speakers at a virtual discussion in Dhaka city said on Monday a state of fear and uncertainty has changed consumer behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Such insecurity has contributed to a reduction in the buy and sale of goods and services in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world.

They said such behavioral changes of consumers will last for a certain time even after the pandemic is over and some changes will continue forever.

Companies that did not take new approaches, adopt new technologies and prioritise their actions will not survive the pandemic and the post-Covid world.

The top managers of a number of companies said job cuts will be considered an indication of a bad corporation and this would impact their post-Covid operations too.

They said this during a virtual discussion hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) on 'Overcoming Covid-19 Challenges'.

In a keynote, Abul Khair Group director Sahadat Hossain Bishal said consumers are spending very cautiously during this coronavirus pandemic.

People are cutting their regular budget and saving money considering uncertainties even in the area where there is no sign of pandemic, he cited.

Mr Bishal said Abul Khair Group as one of the largest business conglomerates has prioritised its operations in this trying time.

"Our centre of rescheduling everything was keeping everyone safe and keeping production on," he said.

Covid-19 is an eye-opener for everyone as some corporations cut jobs to adapt with the situation but some consider manpower as the most important component.

"Downsizing manpower is absolutely a wrong idea. The employees have worked for us for entire life, but we can't leave them in a bad time," Mr Bishal remarked.employees have worked for us for entire life, but we can't leave them in a bad time," Mr Bishal remarked.

M Ala Uddin Ahmad, chief executive officer of MetLife Limited and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co Ltd, Hong Kong, said Covid-19 has affected life insurance sector like any other sector.

People open life insurance out of a positive perception and expect no uncertainties and fear, he commented.

"That's why, uncertainties and fear have impacted the life insurance sector immensely," Mr Ahmad observed.

AHM Kibria, senior manager of Group Financial Reporting, AMP of Australia, said Covid-19 showed the world that everyone is for everyone.

This is the time for empathy, collaboration and help, he went on to say.

Mr Kibria said some companies are shedding jobs to manage their losses emanating from the pandemic.

"We should be standing by our employees and customers; we should be helping them. Our employees are our asset, we can't cut jobs during the pandemic."

ICAB president Muhammad Farooq said  the dimension and methodology of business in respect of production, supply chain, revenue or sales procedures, finance, HR, IT, business communications are changed now.

Although businesses are interrupted massively, he said, adapting with the changed dimension and methodology to overcome the situation is key for survival.

Mr Farooq said the fight against Covid-19 cannot be carried out by the government alone.

"It will require an unprecedented level of coordination between the public and private sectors at the local and international levels," he added.

Kamrul Abedin, past president of ICAB, AKM Fazlur Rahman, chairman of ICAB UK chapter management committee, and Sarwar Azam Khan from ICAB North American chapter, among other, also spoke.

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