CHICAGO – Consumer demand is declining across nearly every segment of the U.S. discretionary general merchandise and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, even as elevated prices recede from peak levels. Don Unser and Marshal Cohen of Circana (formerly IRI and The NPD Group) look below the surface of current retail performance in this $2.9 trillion market during Circana’s Growth Summit 2023, which is currently underway in Los Vegas. In their presentations, Unser and Cohen explore the possibilities for repositioning retail in the year ahead.
“Consumers have developed a different way of thinking about their purchases as their spending power deteriorated,” Unser, president of thought leadership at Circana, said. “The need to get more for their money will chip away the consumer’s loyalty as they explore new avenues for more perceived value. It’s up to brands and retailers to be ready to welcome them.”
Indicators of change to learn from:
- There is an expanded competitive landscape for consumer spending. Discretionary general merchandise purchases are now being challenged not only by alternatives within respective industries, but also by elevated CPG prices.
- Last year brought a new holiday shopping cadence to retailing in the U.S. The fourth quarter 2022 holiday shopping season’s peak week happened later than ever and secondary retail shopping peaks for holidays, like Valentine’s Day and Easter are not reaching the same heights.
- Shifts in industry performance illustrate purchase prioritization. Many peak pandemic performers, like technology, are among the most challenged industries, while those, like beauty, that support the consumer’s investment in themselves are faring better.
“Consumers are making conscious changes to when, where, how, and what they purchase, making it more important to look at a complete view of consumer spending, across aisles and beyond your own industry,” Cohen, chief industry advisor for Circana, said. “Opportunities exist, even in a challenging retail environment, but marketers must learn from the consumer’s previous behavior to create demand, not just look to replicate it.”
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