Hongkongers seek healthier habits amid expectations of COVID-19 to last - Manulife survey
Majority of respondents have stocked face masks and hand sanitizers
HONG KONG, Dec. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Hongkongers are changing their lifestyle amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly three quarters (72%) saying they now eat more healthily and over half (54%) saying they have exercised more over the past year, according to a new survey commissioned by Manulife.
Manulife’s latest survey reveals that Hongkongers expect the COVID-19 pandemic to last and seek healthier habits to prepare for an extended presence of the virus, according to Wilton Kee, Vice President, Chief Product Officer and Head of Health at Manulife Hong Kong.
The survey, which looked at behavioural changes caused by the pandemic, showed that two-thirds of respondents (67%) expect face masks will be needed for at least a year, while over half (54%) of them said the same for the use of hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes. Underscoring those concerns, nearly two thirds (62%) said they have stocked enough face masks to last three months or longer, with over half (52%) saying the same for storing hand sanitizers.
The vast majority (67%) of the respondents would see a doctor immediately if they have persistent symptoms of coughing, headache, pain or fatigue, while a third (33%) of them said they would avoid visiting a doctor during this period.
"The pandemic has had a deep impact on everyone's lives around the world and here in Hong Kong we've seen people taking more responsibility for their own health, improving their eating habits, exercising more regularly and preparing for an extended presence of the virus," said Wilton Kee, Vice President, Chief Product Officer and Head of Health at Manulife Hong Kong. "It's reassuring to see these positive lifestyle changes and renewed focus on healthy habits despite the challenging times we are facing."
Future financial planning at the forefront
Uncertainties about the impact of the pandemic on the local economy have also prompted many Hongkongers to think about their own finances, the Manulife survey showed. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) said they would spend part of the HK$10,000 received from the Hong Kong Government's Cash Payout Scheme to enhance their financial planning. Over half of the respondents (56%) said they would or have put the money into savings, while about a quarter (24%) said they have decided to invest the money in stocks, funds and foreign currencies and 12% to buy health and medical insurance products.
Health was also top of mind for people in Hong Kong when it came to the payout scheme, with 46% of respondents saying they had used or planned to use part of the money on health-related products, including buying sanitizing supplies, followed by health supplements and in-home exercise equipment.
The findings indicate that younger people in Hong Kong – those in the 18-24 age bracket – have been harder hit by the pandemic financially. Nearly two-in-five (39%) said they are using the money to subsidize reduced or lost work income, a rate considerably higher than the overall average (24%). Though the vast majority (73%) of people in Hong Kong said they feel more stressed since the onset of the pandemic, that rate is considerably higher for the 18-24-age group (83%), underscoring the increased financial pressure on the city's youth.
"It's hard to tell at this point how long it will take for the economy to rebound, but future-minded people in Hong Kong know they need to stash away part of the government's payout cash to deal with lingering uncertainties and improve their financial well-being also," Mr. Kee added. "This is particularly true for younger people who are bearing the brunt of the slowdown in economic activity."
"At Manulife, the health and wellness of our customers is a top priority, which is why we have been a trailblazer in helping Hongkongers embrace the challenges brought by the global pandemic with different tailored health solutions. We are glad to see that there has been a clear shift to healthier lifestyles and greater appreciation of the need for insurance and retirement savings," Mr. Kee concluded.
 Manulife commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of 1,026 respondents aged 18 or above in Hong Kong between October 15-20, 2020.
About Manulife Hong Kong
Manulife Hong Kong, through Manulife International Holdings Limited, owns Manulife (International) Limited, Manulife Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited and Manulife Provident Funds Trust Company Limited. As a member of the Manulife group of companies, Manulife Hong Kong offers a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individual and corporate customers in Hong Kong and Macau.
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we operate as Manulife across our offices in Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. We provide financial advice, insurance, and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2019, we had more than 35,000 employees, over 98,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving almost 30 million customers. As of September 30, 2020, we had C$1.3 trillion (HK$7.5 trillion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $31.2 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 155 years. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong.