"Correction inevitable for FMCG manufacturers"


With the end of the pandemic in sight, FMCG sales records are also coming to an end: the days of toilet paper hoarding seem to be behind us, although we're starting to crave lipstick and snacks on the go again.


Goodbye double digits

What FMCG trends can we expect in 2021? Research firm Kantar takes stock after one year of Covid-19, taking into account the uncertain times ahead. One thing is already clear: a correction is inevitable. After all, as we will stay at home less, our consumption behaviour will also change.


By the end of Q1, Kantar forecasts that FMCG growth will still be 10%, but it is unlikely that we will ever see double-digit growth again in fast moving consumer goods for home consumption. Although the timing and extent of the correction will depend on as yet unknown factors, such as the depth of the economic recession and the course of the vaccination campaigns, it is notable that FMCG growth in China is already slowing.


E-commerce reaches 12%

Globally, e-commerce will reach a 12% revenue share by this quarter, which is the equivalent of two years of growth in just one year. In Europe, Kantar expects a turnover share of 9%; in Latin America the percentage remains below 1%. Will consumers keep the habit of going to the supermarket less often but buying more? Perhaps we are becoming less organised after all, but we are probably learning lessons from our behavior during lockdown.


Kantar also thinks the trend of spending less is here to stay, especially as consumer confidence will take a hit as the economic impact becomes clearer and unemployment rises. However, the one FMCG sector that has not benefited from being more at home, Health & Beauty, will see a strong rebound as soon as we can get back on the road. On the other hand, retail sales of alcoholic beverages may prove to be the most vulnerable category when we are allowed to move from the living room to the pub.


Three multinationals saw their growth increase by 10% or more since the pandemic: Reckitt Benckiser, Kellogg's and Kraft Heinz. The first is also the owner of the two fastest growing FMCG brands in the world, namely Dettol and Harpic. Although this is likely to decline somewhat in the future, sales of hygiene products will undoubtedly remain significantly higher than before the pandemic. In any case, the aftermath of Covid-19, especially in economic terms, will continue to haunt us in the years to come, concludes Kantar.