If the retail market was looking for a year of normalisation, after the excesses of the pandemic two-year period, 2022 will not be the year to meet its need. From increases in the cost of raw materials to the war in Ukraine, from drought to the new relationship between consumers and the web, several elements are contributing to the evolution of the approach to consumption and are driving the agenda of companies.
A few weeks ago, NielsenIQ conducted a global study, ‘The New Economic Divide‘, to highlight how a certain economic divide, which has emerged since the pandemic, is dividing consumers into five clusters with well-defined habits and characteristics.
Consumer behaviour, the new study
According to NielsenIQ, there are therefore the ‘Strugglers‘, those Italians – around 10% of the population – who found themselves in a condition of economic uncertainty during the pandemic, which still persists today; followed by the ‘Rebounders‘, those who lost their jobs or sharply reduced their income during the pandemic emergency, but who are now back on the cutting edge (they amount to around 14% of the population); then the ‘Cautious‘, i.e. the individuals who were not affected by the covid from a financial point of view, but remain cautious in their spending (this is the most represented category, with 52% of consumers); then the ‘Unchanged‘, the people who were not only not affected by the emergency but have maintained the consumption of previous years (18%), and finally the ‘Thrivers’, i.e. those who saved or earned money during the pandemic and therefore feel more financially secure than before (7%).
“The last two years have significantly changed people’s priorities and purchasing choices,” explained Luca De Nard, managing director of NielsenIQ, “so it becomes important for the retail sector to understand the public’s new needs and reshape its marketing strategies. In a scenario where many uncertainties still remain, many families will be financially affected and the caution of shoppers will widen the economic gap. Brands have to start analysing their customers’ feedback carefully and increasingly aim at ‘targeting’ promotional activities.
Consumer behaviour, offer optimization
At Premoneo we have been convinced of this for some time, but in order to meet this challenge, companies must be prepared to take certain steps. Reviewing internal processes and organisational models, developing new skills and building a corporate digital culture are in fact, in our view, the priorities on which Italian FMCG companies will have to focus in order to tackle this further step in the path of digital transformation.
A change of pace will be needed to convince a consumer who is more reflective, who seeks and finds greater security within the home, who is more planner and less impulsive (Italians who buy on impulse have fallen by three million in the last six months) and not very satisfied with shopping experiences (only 38% are). Concerned about the cost of living, they decide to waste less, pay attention to the energy efficiency of what they buy (in tech in particular) and love promotions. These are the main characteristics of the new consumer after the pandemic and within the war, according to the latest analysis by Gfk Italia presented a few weeks ago at the ‘Guide for uncertain times’ meeting.
Consumer behaviour, increasing satisfaction with AI and data science
Times characterised by the persistence of economic, social, geopolitical imbalances with scientific and technological innovation that continues to reshuffle the cards forcing people to seek new balances. Which are never found. According to GFK Italia, however, the ‘phygital’ mode has strengthened: in the first quarter of this year, 53% of Italian families buy both online and offline, with a growth of 5.4 points over the same period in 2021, spending 23% more than those who buy only in shops and 12% more than the average family.
A picture to be faced in the sign of data science and Artificial Intelligence technologies that allow to evolve the customer experience and strengthen the relationship between brands and consumers.
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