The Consumer Brands Association has released a new report outlining five trends that will shape the future of the consumer-packaged goods industry. The CPG Post-Pandemic Outlook: Five Trends Emerging from COVID-19 That Will Redefine the Industry estimates demand for consumer-packaged goods will slow from the extreme highs experienced during COVID-19 but stay well above pre-pandemic norms, even as vaccines become widely available.
CPG products have always been essential to Americans’ daily lives, but they took on heightened importance as millions were suddenly homebound. Though Consumer Brands expects 2021 CPG purchases to decelerate between 1 and 2 percent from 2020 levels, the anticipated annual rate of purchases is expected to grow by 7.4 to 8.5 percent as compared with 2019 levels, indicating a fundamental change for the industry.
“Over the last year, the CPG industry has met unprecedented demand by being unafraid to change the game,” said Consumer Brands President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “There is no ‘normal’ to which the industry will return – urgent transformation is the only way forward. From elevated demand to supply chain to managing waste, everything about the consumer-packaged goods industry is in the midst of dramatic change and capitalizing on enormous opportunities.”
The report factors in a Consumer Brands Association/Ipsos poll of 1,008 American adults that revealed the return to relative normalcy will be slow. Asked when they would consider the pandemic over and resume typical activities, the most common response (36 percent) was when most Americans are vaccinated and enough time has passed to confirm safety.
Nearly the same number (33 percent), however, said that the threat of COVID-19 will never completely go away. Very few indicated they felt the pandemic was already over (7 percent) or they would consider it past when the most at-risk Americans and essential workers were vaccinated (7 percent).
Informed by interviews with Consumer Brands subject matter experts as well as the poll, the report forecasts five trends that will shape the CPG industry in 2021.
Five Trends Shaping CPG Industry
- Demand for CPG Products Stays Elevated: Americans’ slow emergence from the pandemic combined with long-term or permanent lifestyle changes will keep CPG demand elevated long after the vaccine is widely accessible.
- Supply Chain Innovation Flourishes Behind the Scenes: Supply chain concerns fade from consumers’ view as shelves stay stocked but drive big changes in CPG operations.
- New Urgency to Fix Broken Recycling System: The consequences of an increase in plastic usage and waste during COVID-19 are realized.
- Digital Transparency Accelerates: Transparency demands accelerate on consumer expectations, government requirements and new digital fluency after a year of virtual living.
- Companies Become Societal Change Agents: The trust in companies that grew during COVID-19 will evolve into businesses assuming the role of societal change agents and forces for good.
“America has been fundamentally changed by the pandemic and will not go back to what was considered normal in February 2020. Rather, a new normal will emerge, redefined by the experience of the last year,” said Freeman. “The question for the CPG industry is how this redefined normal will translate to its business and the consumers it serves. This new report answers this question and charts the course ahead as the CPG industry emerges from the pandemic more resilient, trusted and prepared to meet the needs of consumers, every day.”
Click here to read the full report and executive summary.