92% of Asian consumers say that businesses need to enhance disinfection protocols if businesses wish to restore visitor confidence when visiting leisure and entertainment venues
- Over 90% of Asian consumers say they spend less time on leisure and entertainment due to health and safety concerns;
- Given these concerns, shopping malls and dine-in restaurants have had the biggest drop in visitor frequency (63% and 65% respectively);
- Handrails (74%), lifts (73%), escalators (68%) and doors (67%) ranked highest for commonly touched surfaces with the most cleanliness and transmission concerns;
- Three quarters (75%) believe that robotic solutions provide better cleaning efficiency and consistency
- Over 85% would be confident to visit public areas again if advanced cleaning and disinfection applications were being deployed
HONG KONG, March 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The COVID-19 pandemic saw the world face an unprecedented health crisis, resulting in a dramatic decrease in global travel. This has led to more people opting for local leisure and entertainment instead. The demand for safer, more advanced cleaning and disinfection of public areas has never been higher. With these challenges in mind, Avalon SteriTech (“Avalon”) and SoftBank Robotics Group (“SBRG”) have jointly launched Whiz Gambit, the 2-in-1 AI-powered cleaning and disinfection robotic solution, where “Whiz” is an AI cleaning robot of SoftBank Robotics and “Gambit” is Avalon’s disinfection unit dedicated for “Whiz”. Findings from the Asia Consumer Confidence Index conducted by Avalon found that Asian consumers are highly concerned about their well-being and protecting themselves and families against invisible bacteria and hidden germs. The onus lies on businesses to enhance hygiene practices and cleaning protocols for greater consumer peace of mind.
Photo caption (left to right): Mr Ronald Yip, Sales Director, SoftBank Robotics Hong Kong; Mr Lewis Ho, Chief Executive Officer of Avalon SteriTech; Dr. Ivan Chan, Vice President, Innovation and R&D, North East Asia region, SGS.
The survey was conducted by Avalon through Ipsos’ survey of 2,100 respondents across Hong Kong and Singapore, which revealed health and safety is a prominent concern among Asian consumers. The survey gauged consumer confidence in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the expectations for cleaning and disinfection measures at public recreational venues.
Avalon is a leading innovator in public healthcare solutions space, providing next-generation cleaning, disinfection and sterilization technology infrastructure for communal areas. Advocating the responsible use of chemicals, Avalon recently formed a joint venture with SBRG to launch its inaugural product Whiz Gambit, the 2-in-1 AI-powered cleaning and bio-decontamination robotic solution for commercial spaces. The solution, with its disinfection performance verified by SGS, focuses on bringing back public confidence, well-being and safety, putting into practice the idea of “Smart Cleaning”.
- Whiz Gambit is the first disinfection robot to achieve Performance Mark by SGS Hong Kong with proven efficacy to eliminate >99% microbial bioburden.
- SGS-tested disinfectant efficacy demonstrates >99.99% performance against wide ranging pathogens, including human coronavirus 229E.
Evolving recreational habits as a response to the pandemic
Findings from the survey reveal that since the COVID-19 outbreak, a majority of Asian consumers in Hong Kong (77%) and Singapore (71%) say they have experienced anxiety when visiting public areas.
76% of respondents indicated they have spent less time visiting local leisure and entertainment venues (82% in Hong Kong and 70% in Singapore), especially among the 55+ age group (85%). Among them, over 90% of Asian consumers cite health and safety concern as a key reason for spending less time engaging in public leisure and entertainment activities (92% in Hong Kong and 89% in Singapore). Even visiting these venues is a concern for many.
According to the survey, shopping malls and dine-in restaurants have experienced the biggest drop in visitor numbers during the pandemic. Respondents say that they have reduced the number of times they visit a shopping mall from 10.5 to 3.9 times a month, representing a 63% drop. Similarly, the frequency of dine-in restaurant visits has dropped from 10.5 to 3.7 times a month – a 65% drop.
“Smart Cleaning” to restore confidence in the COVID recovery era
According to the Asia Consumer Confidence Index, Asian consumers have raised their expectations for comprehensive cleaning in public spaces, where 92% expect commercial businesses to put more effort in disinfection protocols (92% in Hong Kong and 91% in Singapore) and 93% agreeing that regular disinfection is key to maintaining safe and clean public spaces (93% in Hong Kong and 93% in Singapore).
The majority of respondents (86% in Hong Kong and 87% in Singapore) indicate that the deployment of high-tech cleaning and disinfection applications can restore their confidence in public area safety. One such application is the use of robotic disinfection solutions. In the survey, consumers ranked their top three features for healthcare solutions, listing (1) increased cleaning and disinfection efficiency and efficacy; (2) executing pre-defined protocols consistently and reliably; and (3) the ability to work during off-hours and overnight as the most important.
“The findings of the Asia Consumer Confidence Index reveal a shift of people’s values and behaviour – a new social dynamic that businesses need to address not only for their survival but the speed of the global economic recovery. Avalon is dedicated to empower different industry and public sectors to rebuild trust and public confidence with our effective and scientifically proven solutions. We believe Whiz Gambit is a reliable solution to ease consumer health and safety concerns, and raise public confidence as business and travel begin to resume in Asia. Along with our extensive research work with SGS and SoftBank Robotics, we see Whiz Gambit is sparking a new era of “Smart Cleaning,” enabling businesses and public sectors to navigate this challenging moment, as well as what comes next and beyond,” Mr Lewis Ho, Chief Executive Officer of Avalon SteriTech said.
“Our partnership with Avalon SteriTech focuses on delivering comprehensive and innovative healthcare solutions for the public. As SBRG’s first and the only global disinfection sprayer partner and the first product launched under our joint venture, the SGS-certified Whiz Gambit ensures that the efficiency and efficacy of cleaning and disinfection can be maximised, with 2-in-1 disinfection and vacuum cleaning technology. The Whiz Gambit robot we launched with Avalon redefines cleaning and disinfection protocols by delivering consistent and sustainable performance. It offers the agility of adjusting frequency, intensity of cleaning and disinfection practices based on the specific needs of clients and their spaces with affordable operating costs. We strongly believe that the solutions we build should not only address the problems of today, but also safeguard the health for the generations to come,” Mr Kenichi Yoshida, Chief Business Officer of SoftBank Robotics Corp. said.
For more high-resolution images, please download here.
About Avalon SteriTech
Avalon SteriTech strives to provide next-generation cleaning, disinfection and sterilization technology infrastructure for public spaces. Led by a diverse team of world-class scientists, medical doctors, academic advisors and business professionals, Avalon SteriTech is able to use its knowledge and market insights to deliver customized solutions that address unmet public health needs. As part of the Avalon Group, a Hong Kong homegrown biomedical group founded in 2013, Avalon SteriTech aspires to become a worldwide leader in public health infrastructure and protection.
About SoftBank Robotics Group
SoftBank Robotics Group is driving technology forward by becoming a worldwide leader in robotics solutions. Rapidly expanding with offices in Tokyo, Paris, London, San Francisco, Boston, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hongkong, Singapore, and Sydney, SoftBank Robotics Group is constantly exploring and commercializing robotics solutions that help make people’s lives easier, safer, more connected, and more extraordinary. There are currently over 35,000 SoftBank Robotics robots, Pepper, NAO and Whiz, used in more than 70 countries worldwide and offer innovative applications relevant in the fields of retail, tourism, healthcare, finance, education, facilities management and cleaning.
 Research data of The Asia Consumer Confidence Index was collected by Ipsos from 6-14 February 2021 and polled 2,100 aged 18+ respondents across Hong Kong and Singapore via online survey.