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SymphonyIRI: Consumers continue to seek value in 2012

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — While consumers will continue to define value based on price, other key trends — including new product development, technology, store layouts and shopping patterns — will drive the market in 2012, according to SymphonyIRI research.

In its latest Times & Trends report, "CPG 2011 Year in Review: The Search for Footing in an Evolving Marketplace," SymphonyIRI said that in order to effectively compete in the market, consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers should take note of the following predictions:

  • According to SymphonyIRI’s MarketPulse consumer survey, more than half of shoppers still choose their store based on lowest prices, and 75% noted that price weighs heavily in brand decisions. However, SymphonyIRI said it anticipates that some shoppers will start to open their wallets more if positive economic reports continue;

  • Consumers will embrace such money-saving behaviors as pre-planning (i.e., making shopping lists prior to trips to the store) and coupon use. Digital media will play an integral role in this trends, SymphonyIRI SVP marketing John McIndoe said;

  • Retailers in the drug channel will accelerate their format evolution process. SymphonyIRI cited Walgreens converting of some of its stores into food oases as an example. Providing access to healthy food continues to be an area of focus for retailers, especially drug store chains;

  • Manufacturers and retailers will pass manufacturing price increases on to shoppers, but reaction to potential commodity price deflation is yet unclear;

  • Private label will continue to account for unit sales in the 22% to 23% range and dollar sales in the 18% to 20% range; and

  • Manufacturers will expand their focus on innovation as the primary private-label mitigation strategy.

"Evolving economic conditions have brought a polarity to the CPG marketplace," said Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends at SymphonyIRI. "There is a sizable consumer segment that is feeling more optimistic about the road ahead, while a similar sized group is expecting a continued deterioration of economic and personal financial health. Among optimistic and pessimistic shoppers alike, all indications point to continued frugality and conservatism in 2012. CPG marketers need to actively respond to these trends with products and strategies that really emphasize their understanding of consumers’ most pressing needs and wants in order to drive purchase behavior and loyalty."

What ways can CPG manufacturers and retailers effectively compete in today’s marketplace? SymphonyIRI said identifying opportunities and risks, evaluating pricing and promotional strategies and exploring opportunities to enhance product assortment will provide manufacturers and retailers with the keys to success:

  • Manufacturers should re-evaluate sourcing and inputs resources and be on the lookout for opportunities to lower manufacturing costs through innovative sourcing, packaging and product sizing strategies. Retailers, on the other hand, should closely track the evolving competitive set at the channel and retailer level to ensure appropriate product mix and inventory management strategies are maintained;

  • Manufacturers should continually reassess and adjust pricing to maintain an optimal price gap between private-label and brand-name offerings. Retailers, however, should work with key manufacturer partners to develop cross-promotional opportunities with high-growth categories/brands and/or with key staple products; and

  • Manufacturers should consider exploring product development opportunities at both ends of the product spectrum, based on existing and emerging product trends. Meanwhile, retailers should align assortment strategies with changing trip mission and product usage trends.

Click here for the full report.

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Air Wick embraces scents of nature with National Park collection

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Air Wick, a Reckitt Benckiser brand, is celebrating its new partnership with the official charity of America’s national parks by launching a new fragrance collection.

Air Wick said its National Park collection — which includes candles, Freshmatic auto sprays, aerosols, Flip & Fresh refills and scented oils — features Hawai’i, Virgin Islands, Yellowstone and Glacier Bay scents, and builds on its new relationship with the National Park Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the new line will go to the National Park Foundation and further their mission to directly aid, support and enrich America’s nearly 400 national parks and their programs.

"Our national parks provide us with the purest scents of nature, and Air Wick searched America’s national treasures for inspiration for this new collection," Reckitt Benckiser marketing director Jerome Lemaire said. "We are thrilled to be partnering with the National Park Foundation to help our customers bring the outdoors in, while giving back to America’s national parks."

The Air Wick National Park collection is available in a range of air fresheners that retail from 99 cents to $4.99 and are available at major retailers nationwide.

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Navarro Discount Pharmacy celebrates opening of 31st store

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI — Navarro Discount Pharmacy has announced the opening of its 31st store in Pembroke Pines in the Westfork Plaza.

Navarro’s had a previous store in Pembroke Pines from 2000 to 2009. The new store is part of Navarro’s three-year, 22-store expansion strategy throughout Florida.

“The new Pembroke Pines store is just what the doctor ordered for the Hispanic community in Broward County,” Navarro Discount Pharmacy CEO Juan Ortiz said. “We are very pleased to be in Broward County again and look forward to serving the needs of the growing Hispanic community there.”

Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening were City of Pembroke Pines mayor Frank C. Ortis, vice mayor Iris Siple, and the Miramar Pembroke Pines regional chamber of commerce chairperson Maggie Wiegandt. The first 100 customers received a free Navarro reusable bag filled with product and there was free product sampling throughout the day. Dade Medical College, Baptist Medical Plaza and Dr. Martinez, Martinez Chiropractic, staffed tables and administered free vascular, glucose, cholesterol, weight and spinal cord screenings for customers. The grand opening also included a Family Fun Day filled with music, Mariachis, face painting and characters for children to greet and take pictures with.

Navarro’s every day assortment of merchandise includes niche Hispanic products known to their customers. Navarro’s new Vida Mia private-label brand products, with labels in English and Spanish, are also available in the store.

The new 16,000-sq.-ft. store layout features new colors and enhanced signage in English and Spanish, wider aisles, a larger fragrance section with added light boxes and more products in the refrigerated food and dairy section. Navarro’s unique services for customers include a pediatric window for busy parents, Compounding pharmacy services, a free Diabetes Club for adults and children with diabetes and free prescription delivery.

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