The start of a new year brings with it consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry trends, as well as the continuation of several 2018 developments.
With e-commerce, we’ve started to see brands typically available exclusively online, like meal kit services, begin to move selectively into brick-and-mortar spaces or partner with established retailers to grow the reach of their brands. We expect to see more of this trend in 2019 as brick-and-mortar retailers will try to keep their relevancy by implementing creative strategies focused on technology and customized experiences. Click-and-collect — which allows consumers to buy online and then pick up in-store or at curbside — is another emerging e-commerce trend that retailers will refine in 2019.
The slow death of the shopping mall will continue. Anchor spaces will be converted into seasonal pop-up stores or filled with entertainment and lifestyle businesses like cinemas, arcades or even grocery stores to drive traffic.
To keep consumers coming into brick-and-mortar stores, the renaissance of the in-store shopping experience will continue, with a focus on convenience, immediacy and the ability to browse and sample. Expect to see enhancements like prepared food and eating spaces; individualization of experience; additional services; integration with smartphones (think deals, navigation, checkout and personalized offers); and sampling, education and entertainment.
The days of “stock up” shopping trips may be numbered, as we're seeing trends in shopping trip composition shifting to quick trips to fill in gaps rather than trips aimed at filling the pantry all at once.
There’s been a resurgence in frozen food for the first time in years, as shoppers have come to the realization that it's healthy and convenient — taking notice of the dramatic improvements in quality and variety.
Grocery home delivery will look a bit different next year, as we will begin to see less cooking from scratch and prepared food and complete meals come into the equation. Expect to also see changes in health services in retail, as they will continue to expand in 2019.
Premiumization, too, is making a comeback as the recession fades, with shoppers now favoring quality, convenience and healthiness over price alone.
Naturally derived wellness additives, like CBD (a non-intoxicating cannabinoid), will continue to gain in popularity. We’ve seen the stigma for cannabis-related products decline as marijuana legalization expands and recognition of the medicinal value grows.
In 2019, the effects of economic change will be seen, and the topic of price will be on the agenda for both manufacturers and retailers. With increasing transportation and commodity costs, manufacturers will be forced to increase prices. Retailers will be aggressively scrutinizing price inflation to stay competitive in a fragmenting retail environment. The impact of the tight labor market will be seen, and it could push more shoppers online.
Lastly, the omnichannel experience will be a major area of focus for retailers in 2019, as they seek to provide consumers with a seamless experience, whether they're shopping in a physical store, online or via click-and-collect.
In an industry that’s constantly evolving, we will keep a close eye on the expected changes in brick-and-mortar store evolution, advancements in e-commerce and trends still yet to be seen. One thing is for sure: CPG will continue to keep us on our toes.
Colin Stewart is senior vice president of business intelligence at Acosta, a full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.
Related story: 5 Retail Industry Predictions for 2019