This Brand Footprint report is being published at a time of huge behavioural and economic change due to COVID-19. During this period, and as many of us have remained at home, there has been a focus on the essential nature of FMCG as never before. From the early extra buying that occurred just before lockdown, through to significant changes in shopping habits during, the purchase of everyday items has become a household priority.
Brands and other suppliers alike have worked with retailers to ensure impressive supply continuity in the face of considerable logistical challenges. Supermarkets have acted responsibly in prioritising the health of staff and shoppers while supporting key workers and the vulnerable during this time of needs. After the initial rush to the supermarket, habits quickly shifted to many fewer weekly trips, but spending considerably more on average each time. Convenience stores thrived as people stayed local, coupled with an increased demand for online delivery slots. More than 500 million out of home food and drink occasions per week have shifted back into the home. Scratch cooking has increased while personal care routines have adapted to staying home for both work and leisure.
As a generalisation, major brands have fared well during the early stages of the crisis. 7 out of 10 number one brands increased their market share within the category they led in the 4 weeks up to 22 March. Their positions were enhanced by a combination of more physical prescence on major supermarkets shelves, their greater prominence in reduced range convenience stores, and perhaps even a consumer desire for the familiar at a time of worrying change. Whilst we can only guess the long-term COVID-19 economic impact, it seems likely people will be more cautious and look to save money. The role of pricing and promotions and the balance between own label and brands will be one important way shoppers will judge where to spend and where to save.
Brands have had to react quickly to changing behaviours in the shops and at home. Kantar have responded by offering weekly purchasing and consumption data, regular updates on consumer attitudes and even daily data powered by Worldpanel Plus. As the world comes out of the immediate COVID-19 crisis Kantar can use all of these sources to forecast what the immediate and longer-term future holds. At the time of writing we anticipate take-home grocery sales will rise by 12% in 2020, but for many brands this will not offset the loss of often more profitable out-of-home purchasing, be that from grocery stores or the restaurant and catering sector.
As ever Kantar will be constantly monitoring shopper behaviour and advising on trends, so check back regularly to see the latest insights at kantar.com/inspiration/coronavirus
The remainder of the British Brand Footprint reports focus on 2019 where consumer and shopper behaviour in what we would perhaps describe as ‘normal’ times. The COVID-19 crisis is a disruption, and we know how disruptions work. Many of the trends described in the report will have either accelerated or fallen by the wayside. Those brands that are at the forefront of the former, and can respond swiftly, will continue to feature in the rankings of our most chosen brands.