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European CPG analytics research: What’s trending in the CPG industry?

European research shows CPG executives are looking to analytics to differentiate and build competitive advantage.

Accenture’s research shows CPG companies in Europe are seeking to differentiate and build a competitive advantage by turning to analytics. Now, the question is: How are the European companies using analytics? Currently, they are showing a very high frequency of analytics usage with many integrating analytics into decision-making processes. In fact, only 15 percent of respondents rate integration as partial or lacking.

Inroads to insights in the CPG industry
CPG companies operate in an aggressive, dynamic marketplace that requires businesses to act and react at top speed—in essence, just as fast as consumer preferences are changing. The good news is that the rise of big data has unlocked the ability to instantly collect and analyze once impossible amounts of data.

From an organizational perspective, operations and production are leading the analytics adoption, followed by financial management and budgeting. And while sales and marketing ranks third among areas of analytics application, over 40 percent of respondents are not using analytics for growth initiatives such as product innovation, brand and market management and strategy and business development.

Soaking up social
CPG companies have historically focused on achieving better visibility across the value chain. But in the digital era, they need to capture newly available consumer insights from social media and use them to inform internal processes and drive differentiation. The research reveals social media as fertile ground for analytics—an unsurprising result given the direct consumer engagement opportunities. However, while significant inroads have been made to fully exploit social media analytics, more work will need to be done to maximize this area of opportunity within CPG companies in Europe. Social media information can allow CPG companies to better profile consumers by integrating internal data from the CRM system with external data sources from the open web and the social world to provide a holistic view of consumer expectations.

Social insights could be used for marketing optimization and to enable deeper relationships with consumers.

Analytics obstacles and opportunities
The research reveals that many executives of European CPG companies are using analytics to support decision-making, but it’s quite clear that not all are embracing the real power of analytics, and a significant number are not even using it to enable growth strategies.

In fact, over two-thirds of respondents don’t use analytics to improve the business since they don’t know how to use it. These findings also highlight that many European CPG companies still need to find the analytics talent and skilled people to capture vital insights and drive growth. European CPG executives also noted that in many cases their existing, deeply rooted company culture does not help or encourage information sharing. It is the right time to start with analytics training programs to address the cultural and skills gaps, and drive growth opportunities.

Onward with analytics
In a future where consumers are going to have an increasing appetite for relevant, tailored, data-driven interactions directly with CPG companies, adopting analytics will no longer be a business differentiator—it will be a business necessity.

CPG European companies wishing to move forward and make the difference will need to consider the following:

  • How can I use analytics to drive my growth strategy?

  • How should I structure my analytics organization?

  • How should I build or hire the internal skills to take full advantage of analytics?

For more information read the 2014 Accenture European CPG Analytics Research.