Michael McLaughlin, Vice President, Retail, GfK
Evolving behaviours – same consumer?
Disruption and acceleration of trends calls for new approaches to meet elevated consumer expectations
THE RETAIL LANDSCAPE SAW A DECADE OF CHANGE IN JUST ONE YEAR. LONG-TERM SHOPPING HABITS WERE BROKEN ALMOST OVERNIGHT, AND NOW A DIFFERENT WORLD EXISTS.
At the TCG Summit, Michael McLaughlin, Vice President, Retail at GfK, will be speaking about his company’s research into the behavioural change of consumers during the past year and the impact on TCG markets. We asked him to tell us a little about what we can expect in his keynote at the Summit.
The retail landscape saw a decade of change in just one year. Long-term shopping habits were broken almost overnight, and post COVID-19, a different world exists. In my keynote, I will explain how the pandemicborne shifts in consumer priorities and values should provide the context for future brand and retail strategies.
What does this mean in terms of expected consumer demand and growth potential in 2021?
Eighty-three percent of European consumers agree with the statement that they changed their purchasing behaviour during COVID-19 lockdowns. We witnessed strong demand from the second-half of 2020 and the new year even started with an exceptional growth of +31% in the first quarter, but many clients are asking us if this trend will persist. Wherever the pandemic impact remains, strong demand follows. As working from home or hybrid approaches become mainstream, demand for IT/Office products remains high, and at a level way above 2019. More time spent at home will certainly drive demand for multifunctional cooking and cleaning appliances while temporary solutions will be replaced by lasting and better-quality products.
On the other hand, highly penetrated products like TVs are likely to see less demand in Europe as last year’s strong sales brought forward many sales which will be missed in 2021.
How does this translate to a retailing opportunity?
Leverage the strong demand sectors with the right offer for best-in-class purchasing experience. It’s not simply about selling online, it’s about innovating the online and offline experience for consumers. All age groups were forced to become more digital, but the trust in a known retailer remained a strong factor when buying online. This trust is gained through service and interaction rather than simply selling via an online catalogue. Desired experiences include virtual consultations, virtual after sales service or innovative digital selling formats that educate and entertain customers.
What is the winning formula?
Acknowledge irreversible changes which drive consumers to look for products that not only simplify their home chores, but also offer a long-term durable and premium touch. The crisis catalysed the importance individual’s place on acting sustainably and choosing brands with a purpose. In FMCG markets this is already very apparent, while the TCG industry still offers a lot of opportunity for brands to fill this space.