Rising purchases via digital channels little impact on consumer behavior in FMCG sector

Report also shows FMCG in China grows slowly since 2011 and continues through the first half of 2017

Increasing purchases via digital channels has had little impact on certain consumer behavior such as brand loyalty in the fast moving consumer goods sector, a latest study shows.

The China Shopper Report, jointly released by Kantar Worldpanel and Bain, revealed that FMCG in China has grown slowly after sluggishness began in 2011 and continued through the first half of 2017.

Consumer loyalty patterns are not altered by shoppers' movements between offline and online channels, according to the report.

China's FMCG consumption rose 3.6 percent from a year ago in the third quarter after retailers sold more via online channels to meet consumer demand.

"We expect FMCG expenditure growth pace to be higher this year than that of 2016 or at least remain stable and the overall consumer sentiment is upbeat with more dispensable income going into health and lifestyle related products and services," said Bruno Lannes, partner in Bain China's Consumer Products Practice and co-author of the report.

Bain and Kantar Worldpanel also found that overall, shoppers are purchasing less frequently and as they purchase online they tend to place bigger orders, forgoing the need to make trips to hypermarkets or supermarkets.

"Most shoppers of a brand will switch to a different one within two years ... (and) this means brands need to focus their attention on low frequency shoppers, who account for the majority of the shopper base for most brands and actually contribute most of the revenue," said Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China.

The report also shows a decline in shopping frequency for food & beverage amid the booming food delivery services brought on by new digital technologies as well as rapidly changing meal habits of Chinese consumers.

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