Local businesses have emerged as heroes amid the ongoing pandemic, with homegrown multi-service platform Gojek gaining in popularity in Indonesia, according to a recent study.
The report also identified key trends as a result of the pandemic, notably a shift in consumer sentiment towards local brands.
Ninety-one percent of Indonesian consumers said they were more likely to support local brands in the future, driven by a desire to strengthen their local communities and the economy.
Notably, when asked to identify brands that they were pleased or impressed with during the COVID-19 crisis, homegrown on-demand multi-service platform Gojek emerged as the second-most favored brand among Indonesians.
Its successful brand perception can be largely attributed to potential factors such as its pervasiveness in Indonesia through its ecosystem of services and partners, as well as the positive sentiment garnered from its efforts to support the gig economy during the pandemic, such as through the Gojek Partner Support Fund.
“International might be on the verge of becoming a dirty word,” Yashan Cama, international commercial director of Blackbox Research, which conducted the study, said in a statement received in Jakarta on Thursday.
“Gojek is a great example of how national pride will be a growing part of consumers’ purchasing consideration. Consumers are looking to support their own economy, and they are letting their spending speak for itself. But, this is not just a case of supporting a local brand, but a local brand that impacts a significant portion of Indonesians through the gig economy. This is why Indonesians want to see Gojek succeed,” Cama elaborated.
For international companies to compete with this spotlight on local, Cama noted, they will need to reassess their brand portfolios and seriously consider how they can localize their brands to reflect the values that matter most to Indonesian consumers.
The study also revealed that many major companies came to the fore during the pandemic, leveraging new opportunities thrown up by the lockdown. Several companies also made an effort to engage with local communities and demonstrate their commitment to helping them during the crisis. This produced mixed results: some companies benefited, while others were viewed more cynically and seen to be virtue-signaling while profiting.
The findings show that the top companies in the Philippines were most successful at getting consumers to rally around their cause. Four in five of the top “virtuous” companies during the pandemic were Filipino in origin. Singapore and Malaysia had three local businesses in their top five. Thailand and Indonesia had only one each. Vietnam fell in the middle with two local companies coming out on top in the survey.
Conducted by leading data content and social research agency Blackbox Research and consumer intelligence platform Toluna, the research report ‘Into the Light: Understanding What has Changed for the ASEAN Consumer During COVID-19’ analyzed current sentiments, expectations, and behaviors of 4,780 consumers across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.