For many consumer-packaged goods (CPG) brands and related retailers, spring is one of the biggest times of the year. Between spring cleaning, Easter, Mother’s Day, Tax Day and just the general warmer weather, consumers flock to purchase everything from confections and flowers to cleaning supplies, medications and much more.
As consumers look to get started on their spring and early summer shopping, what should CPG brands and retailers expect? Here are the three biggest trends to keep top of mind for Spring 2022.
1) Chase the Shopper, Not the Channel
In the before times, consumers could be expected to buy certain items at certain times of the year at certain places. Let’s take Easter for example – most consumers are likely to head to their local grocery store in the week leading up to the holiday to purchase confections, hams, etc. To influence buying behavior for the holiday, CPG brands could work with the grocery stores on co-marketing, including items in FSIs or TV ads and then having in-store displays to push consumers to buy.
But with COVID-19 continuing to impact consumer behaviors, these kinds of tried-and-true marketing options are less impactful. Let’s break it down:
- How do consumers shop? Most buying behavior, especially for perishables, historically happened in person. But as the pandemic continues to impact routines and shopping behaviors, consumers have gotten used to new options like curbside pickup and instant delivery. Shopper modality is here to stay. As a result, in-store marketing options may not be as valuable as they used to be.
- When do consumers shop? Let’s take a look at spring cleaning. In the past, consumers would head to grocery stores, mass market retailers or drug stores in March or April to purchase cleaning supplies like brooms, mops, bleach, etc. But is cleaning the house as seasonal now? With many of us staying at home more frequently, Americans are more likely to be cleaning year-round. For example, a 2021 survey found that well over 30% of adults in the U.S. deep clean their homes monthly, while a similar percentage tidy up daily – in comparison, a 2018 study from 3M found that many Americans were cleaning much less frequently.
- What do consumers buy? Consider the Peep: once a staple just for Easter, they’re now available year-round. Today, consumers are not patient, and they want to be able to buy what they want when they want it – even if that means getting Peeps over Halloween or Valentine’s Day or over the summer instead of at Easter.
What does this all mean for CPG brands and retailers? In short, it’s who rather than where. Get your brand in front of the right audience early and often, and to ensure that you are meeting their purchasing needs year-round. Discoverability and shoppable wherever the consumers are – this is what’s key in 2022.
Seasonality isn’t dead, but it’s not as important as it once was for consumers. Brands can’t expect activations in specific places at specific times of the year to yield the results they once did; this is especially true for in-store marketing activations. Consumers are always on and expect brands to meet them where they are.
2) Brand Loyalty Isn’t a Given
The pandemic has dramatically impacted brand loyalty. Between June and September 2021, over 80% purchased a different CPG brand than normal, eMarketer has reported.
Why? The top cited reasons were to obtain a similar product at a lower price, and because the item they initially wanted to purchase was out of stock.
According to McKinsey, 73% of customers in the U.S. say they have tried new shopping habits as a direct result of the pandemic – with up to 83% saying they plan to continue with these new shopping behaviors even once the pandemic is over.
Why are consumers in the U.S. changing their buying behavior? McKinsey found that the top two reasons were related to value and availability.
In this era of declining brand loyalty, what can CPG brands do to stem the tide? On the one hand, these changes are a golden opportunity regarding customer acquisition. By highlighting to consumers how to (easily) obtain their products and the overall value they will see from their purchase, CPG brands can win market share both during the busy spring shopping season and throughout the rest of the year.
It’s a different story around customer retention. Highlighting the value of the product and the different ways it can be obtained are a great start – this is true for everything from ham and cleaning supplies to chocolate and flowers.
On the retail side, consumers flocked to loyalty programs to save money or access exclusive benefits. CPG brands largely don’t have this luxury, so staying present in front of consumers is critical. Multi-dimensional audiences matter for acquisition and retention.
Awareness and intent rule the day. Also, having a keen eye on pricing dynamics ensures you are giving consumers a chance to stock up via promotions or simply keeping share by managing your promotional price elasticity.
3) E-Commerce (and M-Commerce) Is Still Central
Digital channels, especially mobile, are on the rise. In the next three months, InMobi’s own research found that around two-thirds of consumers said they expect to make a purchase using a mobile device.
A third of consumers use mobile to make purchases at least once a month, while 25% shop through mobile once a week or more frequently. This includes the shopper modality being seen in grocery.
Of course, the vast majority of CPG purchases still happen in person at brick-and-mortar stores. Yet mobile influences these purchases. Of all the people who are exposed to a typical location-based mobile ad campaign, about two-thirds of them will later make a purchase with that brand.
Further, people who see a location-based mobile ad and then later visit a brick-and-mortar shopping location are 25% more likely than others to make an e-commerce purchase with that brand. Additionally, 46% of consumers look up products and conduct research on items while shopping in store.
Want to win brand share this spring? Look to mobile and focus on audience definitions.
Make sure your spring 2022 campaigns (and your always-on campaigns throughout the year) are providing the most value to your top audiences. Reach out today to learn more about how InMobi can help you win on mobile.