RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Our eight waves of consumer research reveal that COVID-19 has substantially changed consumer behavior.
  • Hope that life—and consumer behavior—will go back to the way it was is fading. While some trends may revert somewhat, change is permanent.
  • We explore five key myths impacting CPGs—that our data dispels. Businesses must be data-led as they shape plans for the future.
  • CPGs need to revisit consumer segments, their portfolios and their partners now to build a foundation for future growth.


COVID-19 has permanently changed consumer behavior

The pandemic has had a profound and enduring impact on consumers. Recent Accenture research shows that 95% of consumers are making significant and lasting changes to how they live, work and shop. COVID-19 has also triggered an economic recession that is amplifying some of the consumer trends already happening prior to the pandemic.



Myths vs. realities: Responding to the truth

Some people still hold hope that life—and consumer behavior—will soon go back to the way it was. However, while various current trends will diminish a bit, there won't be a full return to what used to be, prior to the pandemic. Consumers’ sentiments, spending and behavior will remain changed. To survive and compete in the future, many CPG organizations will have to adapt to a new world.

Myth 1: We need to focus on our economy brands.

Reality: CPGs should explore premium opportunities: 58% of consumers say they are buying the same or more premium brands.

Myth 2: COVID-19 drove a return to consumer loyalty

Reality: CPG companies must continually evolve to remain relevant to new consumers. Start by understanding consumers’ evolving needs and behaviors.

Myth 3: Pre-pandemic life will resume post-vaccine

Reality: Home will remain the primary hub for entertainment and social occasions. CPGs need to create and connect via new experiences for at-home.

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73%

of employees enjoy working from home.

35%

plan to work from home at least once a week in the future.

Myth 4: Working from home = same job, new location

Reality: It’s not just same job, different place. Working from home is reinventing our lifestyles. “Convenience” needs to be redefined.

Myth 5: The spike in ecommerce is a passing phase

Reality: Consumers will continue to shop online at rates significantly above pre-COVID-19. Historical barriers to ecommerce use have been dissolved.

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Write your story

In this era of volatility, it is difficult for CPG companies to always discern between fact and fiction. Everything is changing rapidly. Myths have arisen, but companies that strive to fully understand their consumers and act on data-led insights can start the next chapter by revisiting segments, their portfolios and their partners.

There is no better time to shape a future of resilience and growth. The world is waiting.



How to get started

CPGs can take several steps now to build a foundation for growth. Four are summarized below. Download the PoV to see all seven.

Forget preconceived ideas about consumers

Learn the ways in which consumers have evolved and are behaving differently. Observe how consumers use your product. Look at the bigger picture of what else they are doing, e.g., watching tv, connecting online. Then find new ways for consumers to incorporate your products in their habits and daily routines.

Reassess your product and service portfolio

What offerings will meet the needs of new consumer segments? Some existing products may need to be deleted from your portfolio. There also may be higher profit categories that you could reposition products into or develop new offerings for. What packaging and pricing changes can be made to increase attractiveness of new offerings?

Involve consumers in new ideas from the start

Consumers today want—and expect—to be involved in co-creating new products and services. Bring them in early. Identify passionate potential users who will not only shape the offering, but also invest and be part of the entire process from development through launch and selling.

Rethink channels and path to consumption

Start by embracing eCommerce, as the dramatic increases during COVID-19 shows no signs of abating. Evaluate where it makes sense to launch or expand direct to consumer. Proactively manage the path to consumption, including the digital shelf.

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