Retail and FMCG/CPG: Trends and insights round-up for 2022
December 8th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

Retail and FMCG/CPG: Trends and insights round-up for 2022

Based on research YouGov conducted over the course of 2022, we have identified several key trends and insights driving changes to consumer behaviors and brand imperatives.

Here’s what we uncovered about the retail and FMCG/CPG industry this year:

1. Shopping behaviors and seasonal events

Over the course of the last few years, the pandemic transformed shopping patterns—shifting purchase behaviors online. This left some big questions for the future of brick-and-mortar shopping but research from YouGov earlier in the year revealed that there’s a strong demand for it again.

We asked consumers about their feelings towards in-person retail and chief among the findings is that roughly half of US (49%) and British (53%) consumers say they enjoy shopping in-person now as much as they did before the COVID-19 crisis.

And despite a quarter of these consumers saying they will not have a need for in-store shopping after the pandemic, a majority indicate that they will still have an appetite for an in-real-life shopping experience. Read more about the shopping sentiments toward in-person retail here.

The ways we shop and engage with retailers will continue to evolve through the years, but throughout a calendar year, we can count on popular celebrations and seasonal events to help steady us and prepare for consumer spending.

These seasonal tentpoles provide companies with a unique opportunity to build brand awareness and connect with customers each year and we launched a report to aid marketers understand purchase intent and provide insights into shopping trends and patterns.

In YouGov’s annual FMCG & Retail Report 2022: The path to purchase for global seasonal events, we measured the retail impact of popular shopping events in 18 markets around the world, including Christmas, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day and Back-to-School.

A separate analysis looked at individual seasonal events and quantified the significant variation in terms of engagement with each event by market.

Another finding from the report revealed that consumers tend to adjust their spending in the lead-up to key shopping seasonal events, with 58% of global consumers indicating they’ll spend more than they typically would in an average month. Find out which seasonal events stir up the greatest change in spending.

Download the full report to uncover further global and market-level insights such as:

  • The sources consumers use to inspire their buying decisions
  • How they are purchasing for each seasonal event and holiday tentpoles
  • What products and services are being purchased and who they are purchasing them for
  • How global consumers adjust their spending leading up to each event.

2. Inflation and changes to household spending

As consumers moved on from concerns over a public health scare, many were forced to reckon with another crisis: economic uncertainty. The downturn in the economies of many countries led to significant price increases in several spending categories.

A YouGov poll from the beginning of 2022 revealed that in the UK, consumers were spending more on household fuel (63% say they spent more on this), groceries (58%) and online purchases (42%) than they did before the pandemic. See what other spending categories were affected.

A similar poll conducted in the US found that consumers spent more money on groceries (59%), online purchases (48%) and gasoline (43%) during the same period. Read the full story here.

Things only seemed to have gotten worse as the year progressed too. A survey conducted in August found that 81% of US consumers who spent money on groceries between June and August noticed higher prices compared to the start of the year. Spending was affected in other categories too, including eating out/takeout, overall household expenses, personal care products, clothing and alcohol. Get the mid-year cost of living update here.

At the global level, few categories seemed unaffected by price increases. Consumers around the world were especially likely to notice significant price increases for food (74%), household products (47%) and cars (33%).

With this year’s holiday shopping season unlikely to be shielded from the cost-of-living crisis either, we looked at how holiday shoppers would be impacted by inflation. Take a look at our holiday shopping insights:

3. Consumer reactions to supply chain issues

In tandem with inflation-fueled cost increases this year, supply chain slowdowns also affected a broad range of industries and had significant effects on businesses and customers.

At the beginning of the year, consumers around the world were already experiencing the effects of these issues. Roughly a fifth of global consumers said it was harder to find and purchase grocery items (22%) and the technology products (19%) they wanted in January.

A separate poll as recently as October showed that these issues still plague the global economy. With 23% of global consumers indicating they were unable to find products that they wanted, YouGov dug deeper to understand how they’ve adapted their shopping behaviors in response.

What emerged from the study were three key changes to purchase behaviors:

  • Prices creeped up and some people started buying less
  • Switched from brands they typically buy
  • Shopped via several channels and stores to get what they need

Discover more about consumer reactions to price volatility and inventory issues.

4. Sustainability and eco-conscious consumers

In nearly every industry, consumers and brands have started taking an active interest in sustainability and environmentally friendly products.

Many consumers will even try to mind their impact on the environment this holiday shopping season, with over a third of festive shoppers in the US (37%) saying they’ll buy second hand. Similarly in the UK, 34% intend to buy pre-owned goods as gifts.

YouGov has approached the topic of sustainability through the lens of general retail, grocery shopping, cooking and even EV charging in retail parking lots. Explore a few of our sustainability insights below:

5. Brand involvement in social and political issues

Just two months into the new year, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine placed companies’ responses to the situation—and the absence of a response in some cases—under the consumer spotlight. This came amid a time when 45% of global consumers say they like when brands get involved in social issues, with 17% disagreeing with this view, according to YouGov Global Profiles.

Regarding the Ukraine-Russia conflict, consumers globally were far more likely to expect brands to issue a public response on the matter than not (55% support brands doing so vs. 19% who do not).

Consumers from around the world also thought brands should do more than bandy about words. A majority wanted brands to donate money/supplies to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine (71%) and stop doing business in Russia (58%). Read the full story on how global consumers wanted brands to respond to the Ukraine/Russia conflict.

There’s also an associated business impact of doing so, according to a YouGov poll conducted among registered voters in the US. Over two-thirds (68%) of registered voters say they would be more likely to buy from a brand if it gave a portion of its money to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Find out more about what Americans think about brands and the Ukraine/Russia conflict.

More recently, several retail brands severed business ties with Kanye West following the musician’s troubling saga of antisemitic rhetoric in October.

We looked at the brand impact on adidas following the shoe and apparel retailer’s fallout with Kanye West in both the US and UK.

Data from YouGov BrandIndex—which tracks consumer perceptions of brands on a daily basis—revealed that while the decision to drop Kanye West could cost adidas plenty of money, it is generating more conversations around the brand, particularly in the US, which has led to increased consumer willingness to buy from the brand among two key audiences: 18-34s and existing Adidas customers

In the UK, however, Consideration for adidas among its customers has taken a slight hit in October and so have its Reputation scores among customers and young adults. See how the Kanye West fallout affected adidas’ brand health.

There’s a clear consumer expectation for brands to get involved in social-political issues, but brands should weigh the benefits and risks of doing so. This calls for more sophisticated segmentation by brands to align with their customers’ values and connect with them in more personalized ways.

In one analysis, we connected several consumer intelligence tools including audience segmentation, brand tracking, and fast turn-around surveys to inform a case study of DICK’s Sporting Goods’ involvement in several social issues over the last few years. By providing a long-term view of the retailer’s brand health and up-to-the-minute understanding of consumer views on brand activism, we were able to gauge the brand’s position among its current and potential customers.

Read more about how brand activism impacts consumers sentiment.

Explore our living data – for free.

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Discover more retail content here

Want to run your own research? Start building a survey now

Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash