The following chart highlights the top issues selected by respondents to IGD.s Global Retail Outlook Survey
Health and wellbeing overwhelmingly emerge as the key consumer issues to be addressed in the next five years. This will be an important area of focus for both retailers and suppliers. While many businesses are already investing in this area, the pressure to offer a healthy proposition is likely to increase in line with growing media attention around the subject and the need to offer a responsible proposition that benefits both consumers as well as sales and profit growth.
The need for convenience also emerged as an important factor. Lifestyle habits have evolved in such a way that consumers place high value on this area. Retailers such as Tesco and Carrefour have been particularly effective in capitalising on this through the launch of various small store formats. Further evolution of the convenience sector among global retailers is likely and supplier product development will need to follow suit.
Climate change and food safety were also identified as important issues, reinforcing the idea that consumers are increasingly becoming conscious of the food they eat and will increasingly seek reassurance on food origins. Managing the impact of climate change will be a key issue for consumers but also for both retailers and suppliers as changing weather patterns create new supply chain requirements and the need for high levels of flexibility, often at short notice.
Another point to note is the relative unimportance of low prices in the responses to this question. However, while the demand for low prices is not ranked highly by survey respondents, IGD believes that low prices will continue to remain a relevant consideration over the next five years. Price has played a major role in shaping the trading agenda in many countries over the last five years and is likely to continue to do so over the next five years. In some markets, price has become a pre-requisite, with customers focusing on what retailers can offer above and beyond price alone.
A final point to pull out is the relative unimportance of the demand for indulgence/premium in responses to this question. This suggests that this trend may only be evident in some Western markets and a few other world cities with highly affluent populations (e.g. Moscow) rather than on a global scale. The above views should provide retailers and suppliers with ammunition to develop NPD and innovation strategies. However, this view of consumer issues is based on industry opinion rather than consumer opinion itself, and any product ideas should be tested against consumer opinion before development begins.