Nielsen: Retail opportunities for 2013 in big data, omnichannel and fresh

CHICAGO — Growth in 2013 will be slow-going in the first half of 2013 but will pick up at the end, suggested James Russo, SVP global consumer insights for Nielsen, during a webinar Wednesday afternoon. "The consumer remains in maintenance mode," he said. "Consumers are being pragmatic in their spending. Uncertainty dominates."

Nielsen advised participants of its "What's In Store 2013" webinar that the biggest bang for retailers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers will come out of thinking small. And to be really successful, companies will need to think at a granular level utilizing big data analytics.

Thanks to a still-anemic economy, the average size of an American household has dropped to 2.58 in 2011 from 2.62 in 2000, and the average number of annual shopping trips has dropped to 151 in the 2010-2011 time frame as compared with 176 average annual trips per shopper in the 2002-2007 time frame, or prior to the recession.

And as many as 74% of consumers claim the American economy isn't recovering at all but still in a recession. 

To capture a greater share of dollar out of smaller households and fewer shopping trips, retailers and their partners will need to make the shopping experience more personal, Russo suggested, through insights derived from social media outlets and shopping data — big data.

Another area of opportunity for 2013 will be fresh, Russo said. In an outlet where fresh makes up 13% of the selling space, it can drive as much as 30% of the growth. Basketsizes in stores with fresh are between 1.5 and 2.1 times larger versus similar stores without fresh, and there has been a 5% increase in consumer interest around health and natural foods. "This is a global dynamic as well," Russo noted. 

Retailers also will need to reach their shopper where she's actually shopping. "Last year there was a significant increase in virtual stores," he said, citing Peapod as an example. Peapod is an online grocer that presents virtual planograms — on the walls of a subway, for example — where commuters waiting for their train can scan a product with their smartphone and have it delivered to their home.

Consumers aren't just shopping during their commute, however. "About half of consumers who are using their tablets and watching TV are shopping. So when you think of the connection between traditional media and new media, it's [very] important." 

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