Highlights from the survey findings, which reflect the responses of consumers from the U.S., UK, France and Germany, include:
Online Shoppers Prefer Non-Perishable Categories in CPG
Research found that non-edible and durable food items are performing considerably better than perishable products like dairy and bread, revealing shopper hesitation about purchasing these types of products online. Also, beauty and personal care products topped the shopping list for consumers in France (47%), the UK and Germany (46%), and the U.S. (38%). Similarly, cleaning supplies were included in the "Top 4" product categories consumers had shopped online within the past two months.
Age Plays a Role in CPG Shopping Channel Preferences
Millennial shoppers (aged 18-29) were the largest group in each country surveyed, except the UK, to only or mostly undertake their shopping for CPG products online. However, their digital channel predilection is closely matched in many markets by those aged 30-39 and 40-49. Interestingly, in the U.S., 22% of respondents who shop for CPG items only online were aged 50-59. Similarly, the online purchasing behaviors of those aged 40-49 surpassed those in the 30-39 age group in Germany and France. Meanwhile, in the UK, shoppers aged 30-39 were most likely to adopt a digital only position.
Discounts and Bulk Purchasing Options Drive Online Purchasing
When asked to evaluate how their online shopping habits differ from shopping in-store, consumers in all markets said they are more likely to buy more in bulk online and are willing to spend more if they can identify discounts and offers.
Shoppers are also using digital channels to find the best deals. Price and free delivery were selected by consumers in the U.S. (57%), Germany (57%), France (49%) and the UK (47%) as the top two factors influencing their online CPG purchasing decisions. Promotions and discounts were a close third for consumers in every country except Germany, where 30% of respondents said product descriptions were the next most important factor likely to influence the choices they make.
Recommendations are More Welcome in Some Markets Than Others
Findings showed that at least 38% or more of consumers in every market surveyed say they are open to recommendations on a similar product but from a different brand. Recommendations on products by the same brand was the second most welcomed prompt for shoppers in France (30%) and the U.S. (28%), while "frequently purchased together" style recommendations were particularly popular with 25% of UK shoppers. Conversely, 36% of German shoppers made it clear they are unlikely to be swayed by recommendations, with over a quarter of shoppers in France (30%), the UK (29%) and the U.S. (28%) saying they don't use or like recommendations.
Online Shines Bright for CPG in the Future
A significant number of respondents noted that they plan to prioritize online channels when making CPG purchases. In fact, over a quarter of U.S. (27%), French (26%) and UK (26%) consumers surveyed indicated they will predominantly be shopping online in the future, with one-fifth of German shoppers saying this will be their preferred channel.
However, CPG companies looking to boost online purchases across more products and category selections will need to emulate the engaging experience that consumers have when visiting a physical store. For example, meal recipes that show cooking ingredients on a virtual table could help draw the consumer along a shopping journey, while those exploring a haircare or beauty purchase could be given opportunities to upload their photo and virtually try out a new hair color or makeup look.
Periscope by McKinsey conducted online research in March targeting consumers in France (505), Germany (500), the UK (500) and the U.S. (1026). Respondents were aged between 18 and 70+ and responses were selectively evaluated by age category and gender.