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GUEST COMMENT Growing a retailer or brand: the four global consumer trends you need to know

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Ecommerce has been a driving force in creating a global market and brands are increasing their penetration across the globe; for example Colgate toothpaste in Yorkshire might also be used by a couple in India. Although the global market is hugely diverse and so are its shoppers; there are four common trends retailers and brands can take note of. These trends have been identified in the Kantar Worldpanel Brand Footprint report, which lists the most chosen brands across the globe and analyses what traits result in their success and failures.

Habits vary across populations and spotting local trends can help brands reach a larger customer base by catering to these individually. In the UK for example there has been a rise in one person households; to cater to this brands like Lloyd Grossman have developed products to target these customers such as a Sauce for One. In India the increase in middle-class women going to work has helped fuel a growth in ecommerce, perhaps due to these women having less time to physically shop. Knowing the behaviour of local consumers allows brands and retailers to focus their offerings to individual markets, improving their penetration on a global scale.

Building and more importantly keeping your consumers trust is imperative. In 2013 the horse meat scandal in Europe impacted the reputation of several major supermarket chains and as a result shoppers became savvier as to where their products were sourced. With an abundant choice in brands and retailers, consumers are drawn to those with a commitment to deliver their promises. Sustainability is a sought after quality promise. October 2014 saw Unilever launch its first TV ad to associate sustainability with the Unilever logo. In South East Asia, Downy and Comfort single rinse fabric conditioners have thrived by marketing their ability to save precious water, good for the environment and good for the consumer. It’s no coincidence that Downy moved up four places within the top brands globally appealing to consumer conscience and purse strings.

Targeting the individual is more important than ever, but when you have a global consumer base how can you be expected to reach out to each shopper personally? Tea brand, Blends for Friends in the UK have cleverly achieved just that, letting consumers design and name their own tea. This personal touch drives engagement with your consumer base. By personalising products they become exclusive rather than something just anyone can get their hands on.

The final global trend is the health parallel. Several brands are no longer only providing reactive health products but proactive products. A great example of this is Activia yoghurt’s ‘happy tummy,’ aiding digestion before a problem arises. Retailers are also playing their part in the global battle against obesity. Supermarket chain Lidl made a bold statement when in 2014 they removed all sweets and crisps from the checkout in over 600 stores in the UK.

The digital revolution that has caused such disruption in music, media, non-food retail and payment services, has only just started to have an impact on FMCG. Online sales are growing quickly – they grew by over a quarter in 2014. Kantar Worldpanel believes online could account for 10-15% of grocery spend in the next 10 years. Whilst the market and population are ever-changing, by understanding these consumer trends and behaviours now, brands can create a successful plan for the future.

Alison Martin is a director at Kantar Worldpanel

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