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Olga Keating
15 June 2021

COVID-proof bag: OTT or meeting a need?

Many businesses managed to survive during COVID and even prosper. They listened to their customers, were empathetic with them, and offered a solution to their problem. Creativity and innovation has never been so high, as independent company, RiutBag, has proven by developing a Covid-proof bag after receiving a message with a plea for help from a doctor.

It's a fantastic idea, primarily because Sarah Giblin (the creator of RiutBags) used a truly human-centric approach to meet a need.

But does this idea resonate with the masses? Are the concerns about virus transference still serious? Do people want to sterilise their bag, and which features of the bag are important to them? We decided to ask Brits what they thought, and here are the results.

Founder: Sarah Giblin
About the product
RiutBag can be fully sanitised whilst keeping all of its special features. You can see the product here.

Many people are still concerned with COVID-19. But Sarah’s product isn’t relevant to everyone. Or is it? We wanted to find out if the product has the potential to appeal to the masses. We also took the opportunity to discover how the spread of Covid concerns Brits after almost a year and a half of its arrival.
What did we test? Limited Edition RiutBag+ a 15" laptop bag.

Who did we target? National representative sample of Brits between 18 to 65 y.o.

How was it tested? We used the Concept Test solution on the Fastuna platform. Online panel respondents were sent a survey link to their email. After reading about the product, they answered our survey questions. We also added bespoke questions about the features they find important in a bag, concern around the COVID-19 spread and their attitude towards the virus prevention.
OTT or meeting a need?
The bag only scored 66 out of 100 GPS (General Perception Score), which is average based on standardised Fastuna norms. Taking a closer look 73% of people did like the product and half found it relevant to today’s conditions and 80% found it unique.
See the full report here.
The product performed very well on clarity where 80% found it clear and very clear, so there are no barriers to understanding what the product is about and why it was created.
The message is very clear about the backpack's functionality and features. Completely understandable. — Female, 53
It's a good idea that fits in with today's society so much. Covid isn't going away anytime soon, so it's appropriate. Female, 18
Any backpack that is easy to clean is good. I've been wanting one like this for years. This would be great for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. — Male, 30
It's something unique, I like the design. Male, 22
This bag would reassure me that my husband and daughter are protected and in turn they won’t feel as if they are taking any germs back to the house. It’s easy to clean anytime. Female, 43
However, not everyone finds it necessary to have a wipe-clean bag even though COVID-19 has brought new levels of awareness of sanitisation.
Think it’s going a bit over the top given the vaccination rate. Female, 41
It’s ok but seems excessive. Could just use an anti-bac wipe. Female, 19
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It’s great for someone but not me!
Only half of those answering our questions found the product relevant. But from the comments we can see that they believe the product is there for a reason and seem to like it however they can’t relate to that need.
It seems quite practical but is not something I’d be really interested in. — Male, 40
Will be useful for those that are concerned about covid. — Female, 51
Which features are important in a bag during COVID?
This being a UK survey the waterproof quality of the bag scores highest at 66% followed by a laptop holder and an anti-theft technology. A close fourth is easy to sanitise at 52% confirming our audience has split opinions on the matter. Seen as the other half expressed this being an overkill or a need for somebody else but not them. Over a third are looking for a mask and sanitiser holders and the same amount don’t want to compromise on the way it looks.
It’s a great idea but maybe needs to be more aesthetically pleasing. — Female, 30
Horrible looking thing. — Female, 27
Lots of pockets and colour could be better. — Male, 21
Are the Brits still concerned about COVID?
Majority of Brits are still concerned about COVID-19 while almost a half are quite or very concerned.

This is also evident looking at the measures people take today to protect themselves from COVID. Majority wear masks and sanitise at the very least, while some go to greater lengths like washing their clothes the second they get in. Those are the people who may find it useful to have a bag which can be sanitised as they get in through the door. Mentions of remote working and online shopping, ie. e minimising travel.
I have been seeing a lot less people; working from home constantly; have everything delivered to the house so I do not enter shops; have things collected from the house such as mail and packages for posting; keep plenty of sanitiser and use at home; plenty of anti-bac wipes are used constantly at home along with anti-bac sprays. — Female, 51
I have made sure to social distance, wash hands regularly, wear a mask and clean surfaces before touching them (eg trolley/basket in shops). Female, 30 Wear a face mask. Wash my hands regularly. — Male, 52
A number of people shared that they either shower and / or wash their clothes as soon as they get home. Which can be a good angle for the manufacturer to explore. Describing this as a usage occasion in an ad or communication about the product could help bring forward the understanding of the need.
I wipe down any shopping that comes into the house and all outter packaging is removed where possible. I wash and hand gel regularly as do my daughter and husband. My daughter showers the minute she gets in the door from being out or in uni and her cloths go in the wash. I apply a mask when I enter anywhere and try to take as much precautions as possible whilst keep 2 meters apart. — Female, 43
I wash clothes I wore outside as soon as I get back home. I never wear shoes indoors. I sanitise my hands very often when out and about and wash them as soon as I get home. I bring wipes with me all the time. — Female, 39
So, a clean bag — do we care?
RiutBag+ is clearly a great product. It had been developed with care and attention to detail in a truly #customercentric way. The results show good potential for the mass market, however not everyone will follow a sanitising trend. Obviously, with half of the sample who are still quite concerned about COVID, the message of additional protection will resonate.

So, Fastuna verdict: thumbs up for Sarah!
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