New key words – Remotely, from home

08.05.2021 4 Min Read
New key words –  Remotely, from home

The Coronavirus pandemic accelerated our digital transformation. Digital solution becomes more and more demanded in everyday life, main expectation each of us has is opportunity to carry out behaviors remotely. COVID-19 changed established perception of the work, education, medical service, social interactions, entertainment and relaxation, during the pandemic every service or product associated with all those aforementioned needs have been re-assessed according to their ability to keep us at home.


Modern parents’ gadget 


The impact pandemic made on online services changes in the long run and will never get back the world as we knew before.

Sopho Bukia is a successful journalist whose life was changed before the pandemic when her twins were born, babies were not even one-year old when the pandemic started, Sopho had to spend lockdown days in a locked apartment with her babies.

“We were completely isolated and fully relied on Glovo and Wolt delivery couriers. They became our main connection to the outside world. When it’s babies’ bed time and you discover that you forgot to buy milk for them, delivery man with a moped becomes the superhero delivering the most precious thing to you” – says Sopho. 

Sopho managed to squeeze in the normal ritual for new parents – running into grocery stores and pharmacies with babies or in turns, without babies when they are asleep and coming back stocked up for a week, in just one gadget which she uses for several types of services: delivery service apps for products, child care items and toys, medical app for consultation with a pediatrician and purchasing medications from the pharmacy, taxi ride service for the nanny.


Frequently used services 


Research and Consulting company ACT was interested to find out how has behavior of Tbilisi residents changed similar to Sopho’s behavior in terms of online services. According to the study conducted last month, every third Tbilisi resident activated use of digital banking services (online transfers, utility payments, ordering a card, etc.), 22% of respondents order ready-made food more often than before the pandemic, while 20% of respondents now shop clothing and shoes online more often than before. In addition, young respondents in 18-34 age group use online food apps most frequently, overall, every second young resident orders food online.

At this point, Tbilisi residents are less passive in purchasing groceries online. 83% of elder generations do not use online supermarkets at all, the majority of inquired respondents buy groceries in a traditional way – supermarket or corner shop. A small portion (13%) of young respondents from 18-34 age group started using online pharmacies, but digital version of this service does not beat personal visits to the pharmacies.

It is interesting to find out what motivates consumers to go out to purchase groceries and medications, is this the possibility to select the product locally, check the assortment, or in case of medications – time factor or probability of getting recommendation from the pharmacy consultant. Providers of the said services can get answers to each of this question as a result of observing and studying consumers.


Those behind the apps we use 


Before the pandemic, delivery service was considered as comfort service and part of people avoided paying for that service. This pandemic created the environment in which delivery services turned into everyday necessity from the luxury. During the isolation, in addition to food, online grocery shopping and delivery of medications/hygiene items from the pharmacy became important for consumers.

Increased demand on online services enabled startups operating in this field to achieve fast development – diversify service categories, expand – add staff and partner services of products and constantly improve offered services. All of those companies now study digitally active consumers to foresee what will be important tomorrow for them who avoids or cannot go out due to objective reasons.


What apps will remain in the gadget 


Are online shopping behaviors caused by the pandemic sustainable?

According to the study, when the pandemic ends and Tbilisi residents will return to the ordinary life, they will still continue using digital banking products (94%) and ordering food online (86%). As for grocery shopping and medications, they plan on making personal visits to stores and pharmacies.

However, similar to Sopho, there are consumers who already see distinct advantages in having consistent behavior of shopping online: “I used to do grocery shopping after leaving the office before the pandemic started, I hardly remember that time, but it was what I did. And this was a terrible process – one store does not have any cottage cheese, another is out of bananas, third one is out of something else and so on. You have to visit so many places. Then you need to take all these bags to the car. The same applies to the pharmacy. I’m loving the app that searches every product in one pharmacy. Lockdown or not, I will always use Glovo, Wolt, Ekimo apps. I just can’t live without them”. 


Consumer walks less 


Sopho and part of consumers still have problems when using online services such as delayed delivery, problematic system when curriers have often call consumers to check the address, incomplete order or problems in the payment system, but in this changed reality, necessity to be cautious about health and have more comfort make consumers see even more benefits in those services and wait for improvement of digital “switch”.

Before that, we continue protecting ourselves in the biggest fortress – home. Similar to others, Sopho tries to balance a busy day between work and parenting: ”I’m at home and not at home at the same time. I say goodbye in the morning exactly like before leaving to work, then I close my door and work till the evening. As a background noise, I hear their voices. I got used to the fact that they are behind the wall”. 

Digital transformation goes on quickly and similar to centuries ago, humans are inclined to squeeze in everything we need to feel safer and more comfortable in this fortress.

Featured Insights
26.04.2021

In 2002, for the purpose to promote books and reading, UNESCO started a large-scale project – “World Book Capital” when one specific city is nominated each year to be designated as the world book capital. On April 23 of 2021, this honorable status was designated to our capital city and consequently, Tbilisi will turn into world book capital for a year.


We all agree that during the world pandemic, Coronavirus to some extent helped us to push forward topics that are top priorities for us. Each of us had different ways to balance aggravated stress level by means of relatively pleasant activities, however, the choice was limited by the pandemic. Fortunately, reading books is on the small list of activities which, together with gaining knowledge, is a great way to relax.


If we say that the pandemic changed life for many of us, logically the question arises – did it make in influence on our habit of reading books?! In reality, did this suddenly spared time pushed our society to read more or in contrary, elevated stress turned us into passive readers?!


“Consistently studying change in the behavior of readers is well-established practice all over the world. Georgian market also needs such constant monitoring, as collected information acts as a foundation for right development of the book market. This topic is particularly important during the pandemic, which made significant changes in publishing industry” –declares executive director of Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association, Tinatin Beriashvili.


In compliance with a joint request of Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association and House of Writers, ACT conducted a large-scale study on the Georgian book market, certain tendencies have been identified based on the study results.


  • Reading books once a year, once in 2-3 months or every day 

According to the study conducted in February of 2021, our society is divided into two exactly equal groups: half of respondents who managed read fictional or non-fictional literature in 2020 and the other half, who could not read even a single book throughout the year.


Study results also clarify that more than half (56%) of readers read books at least once a week, among them – 19% managed to read intensively – every single day; almost one fourth of respondents reported on reading quite passively – once in two-three months at maximum. Number of such passive readers is even bigger in regional cities compared to Tbilisi.


It was of course interesting to get an answer on one of the main questions and find out whether the frequency of reading changed during the pandemic. As it turns out, the pandemic did not make any impact on reading habits of half of our reader respondents, while one third of respondents “blamed” pandemic for reading more frequently. 15% of respondents noted that unfortunately, they can spare even less time to read books.


Readers manage to read averagely 13 books throughout a year (the list starts with Georgian and translated literature leaving books published in foreign language in the minority), however more than half of residents (55%) report on reading 1-6 books. The study tracked some differences between those living in the capital city and regions – number of books read by Tbilisi residents is two times higher than number of books regional residents read during a year.


  • Favorite in locked space – fiction 

It is interesting to find out what is major factor when selecting the book to read? How popular the book is or something else? 46% of inquired respondents are guided by recommendations of friends and family when selecting a book, 42% of respondents focus on the contents and annotation of the book while 31% of readers make choice on their favorite authors.


As the study demonstrated, a vast majority (86,5%) of respondents prefer to read fiction mainly, while 13.5% of respondents love reading non-fictional literature. The most actively read categories of fiction over the past 1 year include modern literature, classic literature and detective/horror/mystics. As for non-fiction, readers are mostly inclined to books covering historical, political and cultural thematic.


“The pandemic did not affect my choice of fiction I read” – days 9 out of ten inquired respondents. However, the pandemic drove the remaining 10% of readers towards science fiction/fantasy/utopic and detective/horror/mysticism.


  • Where do we read, where do we buy 

It is quite logical that bookshops are prevalent among all other places where books are sold. Before the pandemic, 75% of readers would visit them, followed by the attendance rate on book fairs (18%). As for libraries, our respondents were even less active in visiting libraries. Not to say anything about the pandemic period, 77% of respondents did not have experience of visiting libraries even before, which they mostly explain with lack of time and need.


We were interested to find out what respondents think about updating their personal library in near future. According to the results, 14% of respondents are less likely or completely exclude the possibility of buying books this year. However, it’s not that bad, because 6 out of ten readers (64%) are still ready to visit places where books are sold, half of them (31%) are sure of it.


Regardless of the turbulent zone we are all in now, fortunately, books are still in demand and readers still intend on buying them. As it turns out, this new pace of life did not make any significantly negative impact on reading habits. However, it is impossible not to notice that half of residents cannot read books at all. This makes it even clearer and obvious, that habit of reading books needs to be encouraged and promoted.


As noted by consultant of international projects at House of Writers – Natia Lursmanashvili – “House of Writers is a living organism and publishers as well as readers are its beneficiaries. Accordingly, change of their behavior over the recent years (including the influence of the pandemic) is directly connected to defining future strategy of the organization”. 


* Survey was conducted through random sampling among 1000 adult (16+) residents of Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Telavi, Gori and Zugdidi in February of 2021. Utilized method – FTF interview. Statistical error of data does not exceed 4.4%.  


Author: Ketevan Mamadashvili

Analyst


25.02.2021

Curfew and other regulations in everyday life that are focused on limiting the spread of virus and prevention still remain topical. After the end of critical second wave, regulations set in force by the government throughout Georgia are gradually lightened, but curfew after 9 p.m. still remains as a painful topic for Tbilisi residents among restriction of the movement of public transport on holidays and online format of educational institutions.

After severe epidemiological situation, virus outbreak and increased death rate as well as high pressure on the healthcare system that occurred during the second wave, the government does not hurry to completely lighten regulations set in force.


ACT conducted another interesting research on this topic covering the residents of Tbilisi. As a result of the study, it turns out that as assessed by Tbilisi residents, in the process of managing epidemiological situation the government is not completely effective, particular criticism came from 18-34 year-old residents of the capital city, their assessment of the government’s effectiveness is 5.25 on 10-point scale. In addition, every second (51%) respondent from this age group believes that the measures taken by the government are too strict compared to the severity of the epidemiological situation.

Loyalty of citizens in assessing effectiveness of the government in managing the pandemic situation increases along with the age, 55+ Tbilisi residents believe that the government effectively manages epidemiological situation (6.12) and measures taken by the government are relevant to the epidemiological condition. Overall, Tbilisi residents rated effectiveness of the government with 5.75 points, while opinions split when assessing the strictness point – almost half of respondents (45%) believe that measures taken by the government are relevant, while the other part (43%) declare that measures are too strict compared to the severity of situation. This assessment does not coincide with Georgia’s rating on the Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker, where the country is on the second step (75-85) of strictness on 100-point scale.


What do Tbilisi residents believe is the most important regulation in the process of fight against the pandemic and which regulation is the hardest to fulfill for them?

As believed by inquired respondents, top three most important regulations against the pandemic are: 1. Restriction of entertainment and cultural events and ceremonies (6.56), 2. Restriction on international flights (6.50) and 3. Restriction on visiting restaurants and food places (6.32). The picture is different for different generations – in 35-55 age group, restriction on visiting restaurants is replaced by the curfew, in addition, this regulation appeared to be lighter than others for 55+ Tbilisi residents, while the most painful regulation is restriction (6.06) of public transportation. 


Residents in 34-55 age group believe that the hardest regulation is closure of kindergartens, schools and universities and switching to online format, because logically, number of parents is prevalent in this generation who have to personally cope with this regulation. This generation also painfully perceive restriction on international flights which is also explained by active travelling. Among all the regulations set in force by the government, millennials name regulations associated with socialization as the most important restriction, this imply restriction of entertainment and cultural events, international flights and visiting restaurants.

The study clarifies that youth agrees with parents’ generation on restriction of study process at educational institutions and also are disappointed because of the curfew which is related to active night life lived by this generation. In addition, 18-34 year-old youngsters perceive the said regulation as less effective in the fight against the pandemic similar to restriction of domestic transport and winter resorts in the winter. Such attitude demonstrates that young people do not perceive those three regulations as effective and have high expectations they will be abolished soon. They think that in active fight against the pandemic, it is important to set regulations on entertainment and cultural events, international flights and educational institutions.


The government of Georgia already announces additional relieve of restrictions, presumably, the country’s index on Strictness Tracker will change from March.


Index: https://ig.ft.com/coronavirus-lockdowns/?fbclid=IwAR36DBziFFkfV4T1O_ifZME_ThY5J9-bs5AFDbrCq6uSEz_rK9VAlPtwxfk


The inquiry was conducted through random sampling with 414 adult residents of Tbilisi on February 16-18 of 2020. Utilized method – telephone interviewing. Statistical error of data does not exceed 4.9%.

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