3 Trends Influencing CPG Marketing in 2021

Posted by Greg Keating on Dec 30, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Shopping online for groceries.

Over the past few years, the consumer packaged goods (CPG) business category has experienced some unprecedented shifts in the way that people engage with brands.

But hold on to your packaging; it seems we’re not done yet. There were upheavals in the global consumer and supply chain markets in 2020 tied to the COVID-19 pandemic that created unprecedented changes in CPG marketing.

From mobile-first to multicultural, personalized branding to the explosion of e-commerce, and more, the challenges of CPG marketing will continue next year – and beyond.

This article takes a close look at where the CPG industry is at and three key trends that could influence CPG marketing in the coming year and beyond.

CPG Marketing – 2021 Trends to Watch

Trend #1 Digital-First

No analysis of CPG marketing in 2021 could fail to note the changes technology has spawned. Today, our smartphones are the primary tool for making purchases, and online e-commerce sales will top $4.8 trillion in 2021. Sales from the CPG category will account for nearly $721.8 billion of these projected figures. Building mobile-first digital strategies will be crucial to achieving sales goals this year and in the coming years. 

The impact of digital communications on CPG branding, from social media to consumer review platforms, will continue to have a huge impact on every type of marketing. These channels allow direct engagement with consumers, often in real-time. Social media is a great way to listen to a consumer base, allowing companies to quickly shift their CPG marketing efforts to respond to market trends.

Consumers continue to research and browse online before shopping, either in-store or via e-commerce, and this year, this trend will accelerate. Digital technology has hugely disrupted the traditional consumer shopping experience. Don’t expect this to change, particularly after a year of leveraging and enjoying the convenience of this channel during the COVID pandemic.

Food delivery app on a phone.
The trends also show that CPG marketing must shift toward a personalized shopping experience that makes use of machine learning and predictive algorithms to cater to shopping preferences. These technologies will also continue to influence our CPG branding strategies well beyond 2021.

But it’s not just the abilities and algorithms found in high tech that will influence our approach. It’s the customers themselves that are changing.

Trend #2 Customer Demographics

On the one hand, we know that the shoppers in the future will be multicultural. According to the Washington Examiner, the U.S. Hispanic population is now a record-breaking 59.9 million. The percentage of Latinos as part of the overall U.S. population jumped 18% last year, affecting every region of the country. By 2023, the majority of children in the U.S. will be nonwhite, and a large percentage of this demographic is value-conscious.

Trend #3 Consumer Life Stages

The flip side of this demographic coin is that the world’s population is aging quickly, with the number of people aged 65 or older doubling to one billion globally in the next two decades. We all knew the huge shift from Baby Boomer to Millennial was inevitable. This year the Boomers were usurped by a more youthful audience, as Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. IRi points out that the dollar share of CPG for Millennials will increase from 17% in 2018 to 29% next year. The double whammy for CPG marketing is that 40% of the Millennial market is also multicultural. 

Aligning CPG Marketing Strategy for 2021

It’s going to be a bumpy ride for brands that fail to adapt their digital platforms to the mobile-first mentality. CPG marketing must drive increasing convenience because consumers now demand it. Brick and mortar stores must support these trends, certainly, by shoring up their e-commerce presence and supporting home delivery. 

Keeping CPG marketing relevant is the new rallying cry for brands in 2021. One-size-fits-all no longer works; our marketing efforts must continue to evolve at a digital pace to keep up with technology, and, as a result, CPG branding teams will have their hands full in 2021.

Hangar12 is at the forefront of CPG marketing strategies and more. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date with our latest insights.

Topics cpg trends

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