As the first month of 2022 comes to an end, as expected the January sales have not been as strong as the sales in the last couple of months of last year due to the holiday season shopping.
This year is also different as brands must navigate the opening up of the economy and yet remain agile and prepared for ongoing uncertainty in order to fulfil the needs of their buyers, after two years of seeing all sort of changes in consumer online shopping behaviours. In order to try and make sense of this uncertainty, it can be useful to look at recent market trends.
For example, Kantar market research analysed data across 7 markets including UK, France, Spain, China, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico, representing 29% of worldwide population in FMCGs (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). The data give insights into where these markets were moving up to Q3-2021 and hint at possible trends for 2022:
- Following a sharp rise in growth during the early stages of the pandemic, FMCG growth is now moving back to pre-pandemic levels in those countries moving strongly out of lockdown. The trend is clear when looking at those countries that have eased restrictions earlier than others such as Spain & UK.
- Looking at industry, Home Care products and Food categories are seeing declines in growth, but as people are gradually going back to normal life and business, spending more time out of their home, we see Beverages, Dairy and Health & Beauty sectors being impacted positively.
- E-commerce penetration has stayed at a steady level for all 7 markets, although with varying overall levels of penetration. This general trend suggests that further growth will require new strategies & innovations and will come by recruiting new shoppers from all age groups and income levels.
Now, looking at a different source of market insights, Google’s Insights & Trends indicate that the factors encouraging consumers to try new brands online include: Convenience, Price and Speed.
And forced logins, lack of diverse payment options and limited product reviews are pushing consumers away. These are worth bearing in mind as you’re improving your customers’ digital experience with your brand in 2022.
Brands need to remember that whilst some consumer behaviours that emerged during the pandemic will fade away, others are likely to remain. Take pre-ordering as an example. During the pandemic, due to the supply shortage, consumers in various industries such as Cosmetics & Beauty and Gardening were asked to register, pay for products in advance, and then wait until those products were available for delivery.
In this case consumers were reassured that as soon as the products were back in stock, they would be the first to receive their order. The method also allowed brands to plan their stock based on accurate demand rather than a forecast for the same demand. Some sectors such as Book Publishing used this method even before the pandemic to manage their supply and demand, so this is one behaviour that benefits both parties and one that might stick around now that there is greater acceptance of it.