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Market Research Pain Points – Retail & CPG

The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry has been undergoing a major transformation for the past five years. Thanks to COVID, supply chain woes, changes in consumer preferences, new technologies and increased competition, CPG brands are being forced to reassess their go-to-market strategies and explore innovative ways of doing business. In this new era of retailing, companies that don’t evolve quickly will be left behind. So what does 2022 hold for CPG brands? This article will address some key changes in consumer behavior that will impact your company’s profitability or lack thereof and how market research can help you thrive in uncertain times. Let’s get started.

Top Trends In Retail & CPG 

The CPG industry has seen a lot of changes over the past decade, and we can only expect more in the future. Consumers are changing rapidly and demanding more than ever, which means that businesses need to adapt their strategies accordingly. To keep up with these trends and maintain your business’ competitiveness, you’ll need to be flexible and agile. 

Online Shopping Doesn’t Appear To Be Going Anywhere But Up

There’s no question that online shopping is the wave of the future in retail. Online sales are expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2022, up from $1.2 trillion this year—a 20% increase in only four years. This trend isn’t just being driven by younger consumers; older shoppers are increasingly turning to e-commerce as well, with 45% of people aged 55+ using an app or website to make purchases on their phones and tablets during a typical month (up from 37% in 2016).

In fact, these figures might actually understate how popular online shopping has become: according to CNBC, more than half of all Americans have made at least one purchase through Amazon Prime during their lifetime—and nearly 80 million U.S. homes are now part of its membership program. To compete with online retailers, CPG brands must provide an omni-channel experience.

Today’s Shoppers Expect A Full Omni-Channel Experience

Today’s shoppers are more informed and demanding than ever before, and they expect a full omnichannel experience. Moreover, as consumers become more price-sensitive due to inflation, they will look for more ways to save on retail products. This means that CPG brands need to offer customers what they want, where they want it, and when they want it, whether that be online, in-store, or via a mobile app. 

To keep up with the times, retailers need to have rigorous processes in place for product development, distribution, customer service, and marketing initiatives across channels. They also need to improve their ability to predict customer behavior so they can optimize operations without sacrificing profitability or service quality.

In The Future, Direct-To-Consumer Sales Will Become Even More Important To Your Business

As consumer preferences shift toward small niche brands, direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales will become even more important to your business. Consumers are looking for more than just a product. They want to feel like they are part of a community, and that their purchases support causes or movements they believe in. Digital native brands, like Magic Spoon cereal are growing by appealing to shopper’s desres for products that match their ideals.

In fact, according to a recent study from Nielsen, 70% of consumers say that supporting brands with a cause is important when deciding what products to buy. This trend will continue on through 2022 as well—and the best way for businesses to capitalize on it is through direct-to-consumer channels like online stores and social media platforms (which allow businesses to interact directly with their customers).

Brand Loyalty Is Changing & Store Brands Are Growing

We’re all familiar with the saying “brand loyalty is dead.” But what does that mean exactly? Brand loyalty has traditionally been considered one of the most important assets for a company in the CPG space because it means consumers are more likely to buy your products over others.

But as consumer habits have changed, so have their preferences and expectations. Consumers are now able to access product information online faster than ever, which allows them access to more options when making purchasing decisions. Customers can order a few grocery items on Instacart, buy in bulk from Boxed, compare prices on Amazon Fresh, and subscribe to monthly laundry detergent delivery all in the same hour. 

What’s more, amid rising grocery inflation, 41% of shoppers said they bought more store brands than before the pandemic, according to a new report from the Food Industry Association (FMI). This poses a threat to CPG brands everywhere, as store brands are often comparable in quality with far lower prices. Generic foods are about 30% cheaper than name brands on average.

To forge loyalty, brands should tie their products to their users’ deep needs and desires to stand out against the competition. With quantitative and qualitative data, companies can begin to understand customer needs and trends and ultimately create products with staying power. 

Wrap-Up

As the CPG industry evolves, your strategy must focus on how you can adapt to changing consumer preferences. The key is to understand how your customers are behaving today, so that you can adapt quickly enough tomorrow.

CPG Brands will need to be agile and adaptable to remain competitive. In the past, it was easier for brands to maintain their positions as industry leaders; however, thanks to the emergence of platforms such as Amazon that allow customers direct access to product information and reviews (as well as a host of other features), today’s consumers have more power in determining which brands they buy from. Consumers today expect omni-channel shopping options, have an affinity for D2C products, want to save money on tight budgets, and can easily be swayed to purchase generic products. 

With quantitative and qualitative data (surveys, interviews, usage testing, focus groups, and more) companies can get ahead even in these challenging times. The Fuel Cycle Market Research Cloud helps you build products that win markets.
By capturing continuous feedback with Fuel Cycle’s technology, brands can drive customer-centered product innovation. Learn more here.