The leading trends to watch across the global food and consumer goods industry in 2015 range from Big Data to smart-connected objects. Here are the top five, according to IGD, a U.K.-based research and training firm that provides information and best practices for the consumer goods industry worldwide.
The distinction between online and in-store shopping continues to blur as online grocery sales continue to increase in every major market. The industry must develop solutions for shoppers to order and receive products anytime, anywhere. A noteworthy trailblazer is Amazon, which is now testing drone deliveries to reach shoppers within 30 minutes. There are collaborative ventures such as e-tailer Yihaodian with convenience chain FamilyMart in China, adding hundreds of new pick-up points in prime locations. The challenge for retailers is to develop ways to deliver quick, accurate service as efficiently as possible.
2. When Technologies Collide
Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020. The Internet of Things has become a powerful force for business transformation, the researcher said, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society. This will include new technologies, such as the Mink 3D cosmetics home printer, plus a widening array of everyday products that interconnect. For example, Xiaomi’s air purifier sends an alert to a consumer’s smartphone if air quality dips or its filter needs changing. Other developments are on tap as companies figure out how to interact with consumers in their home, on the go and in the store.
3. Finger on the Data Pulse
Maintaining and attaining good health is a concern of consumers world-wide. This is especially true because many countries are dealing with aging populations and rising obesity. Look for new ways for consumers to keep track of their health via smartphone apps and wearable tech. It will include everything from calories burned to UV light exposure. Consumers who share their data will enable companies to send them personalized communications to help make healthier choices. Walgreens, the U.S. drug chain, is already rewarding members of its loyalty program with extra points for each mile they walk, run or cycle.
4. Big Business Fights Back
Last year, small to mid-sized innovative and agile businesses of various types challenged industry giants for a slice of the consumer’s pocketbook. This year, big companies will react, adapt and return to form with, for example, new retail pricing tactics. For example, Morrisons in the U.K. is the first retailers to price-match Aldi and Lidl. Creating new “Stores of the Future” will emerge as retailers try to develop a new shopping experience that complements online.
5. Custodians for Customers
Shoppers are increasingly looking for transparency from the companies they buy products from. Such visibility will help them make informed and ethical purchasing decisions. In 2015, companies will provide more access to consumers to earn and maintain trust.