Be keen on shoppers’ behavioral shift, FMCG industry players told

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry players must take note of Filipinos’ new shopping habits to accelerate their plans for recovery, according to data and consulting firm Kantar.

“Prolonged disruption brought about by the pandemic has engrained some new shopping habits among Filipino consumers that could help aid the recovery of the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry in 2022,” Kantar said in a news statement issued on Thursday.

At a virtual meeting on Thursday morning, Kantar New Business Director Des Deocareza emphasized that in terms of recovery, more than half of the 156 FMCG categories or 51 percent declined while only 21 percent experienced growth.

Deocareza further explained that “in terms of how we can recover this growth, it has to be about recruiting buyers to be featured back into baskets, more than increasing their spend per trip or frequency.”

Kantar Expert Solutions Director Lendz Lim elaborated the five key opportunities that are critical for this year. Among those mentioned were value for money, new channel missions and e-commerce.

Under value for money, Lim pointed out that since we are just starting to recover from the impact of strict lockdowns and unstable economy, shoppers especially those who belong to lower socioeconomic classes also face the problem of coinciding increase in prices. In effect, this leads to lower purchasing power.

“So we are just coming out of strict lockdowns, their ability to gain income, have to go to work, do their jobs. It’s just starting to recover,” Lim said.

“Over half of FMCG products that are usually in the basket of Filipinos have just increased prices, you know with budgets, how are they going to react?” she added.

With more than half of the 156 categories monitored by Kantar raising their prices by more than 5 percent in the last two years, shoppers will continue to switch to brands that offer them greater value.

In relation to new channel missions, Shopper and Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Laurice Obana emphasized that proximity of products is also one of the factors that shoppers consider when it comes to their purchases amid the pandemic.

With this, shoppers have heavily relied on sari-sari stores since they are within reach and bring less possible exposure to the Covid-19 virus.

“Mobility restrictions over the past two years have resulted to less shopping trips, which translates to less opportunities for products to make their way into the shopping baskets of Filipinos,” the news statement read.

Obana “believes that with the return to neighborhood stalls, brands that can get themselves into the limited shelf space will be the ones who stand to gain the most,” it added.

According to Kantar, another avenue to expedite their recovery plans is the e-commerce industry.

“The number of Filipinos shopping in e-commerce platforms will continue to grow, with the personal care category currently dominating the online shopping basket,” the news statement said.

“With only 8 percent of Filipino homes shopping online, there is a huge opportunity for brands to leverage this platform,” it added.

However, Obana mentioned that this will only take off when Filipino shoppers use online channels to purchase their food and beverage (F&B) needs.

She also cited some barriers to e-commerce in relation to Filipino shoppers’ access to the Internet.

“I think there are still plenty of barriers that we need to address with e-commerce. In fact I was speaking with some of our retailers in the Visayas-Mindanao region. For once, I think the general set-up of making online easier and accessible to the Vis-Min region is still not there yet in terms of infrastructure. So it’s limited to Metro Manila and also Cebu, South Luzon, the big cities,” she said.

Back to school and sustainability were also included in the key opportunities to FMCG recovery for this year.

On the back to school category, Kantar said convenience and packaged products such as hand sanitizers, baby powder/cologne, ready-to-drink beverages, snacks and biscuits will become more relevant.

Regarding sustainability, Kantar global data shows that eco actives climbed up to 22 percent in 2021 from 2020’s 21 percent while eco dismissers went down to 38 percent in 2021 from 2020’s 39 percent.

Eco actives are “shoppers who are highly concerned about the environment and are making the most of actions to reduce their waste,” while eco dismissers are “shoppers who have little or no interest in the environment and take no steps to reduce waste.”

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