‘Rural market has contributed to 75% growth in FMCG sector in last 15 years’

K Ramakrishnan, MD, South Asia, Kantar World Panel, shares with us his insights on the findings revealed at Consumer Connections 2019 

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Jul 26, 2019 8:45 AM

Marketers need to understand how a product is used to be able to implement effective marketing. Clubbing purchase and usage data, Kantar has presented to its clients an overview of the FMCG market and its upcoming trends.

At Consumer Connections, a half-day conference held in Mumbai on Thursday, Kantar provided the audience latest trends and happenings in the FMCG market. It delved into learnings on consumer behaviour, shared insights on the Men's Panel and Baby Panel which are segments under the Kantar World Panel division.

We caught up with K Ramakrishnan, MD, South Asia, Kantar World Panel, to share his insights on the Consumer Connections 2019 findings. 

Speaking about the key takeaways, Ramakrishnan said, “This year, we recorded data about the changes that have taken place in 15 years of the FMCG sector. We also had trends from the Baby Panel and the Men's Panel.”

“From a 15-year perspective, the rural market has definitely driven a lot of growth and contributed to 75 per cent of the growth in the FMCG sector. The hype for seasonal products has come down. The market in the West, which used to be the most prominent for launches, has slowed down a bit in many parameters and new launches were not successful in 2018. India has always been a niche and small pack country but it’s slowly growing. Big packs are happening across all categories be it Shampoos or Detergents. Premium products are also gaining more prominence.”

Another popular trend that has been gaining momentum, as told by Ramakrishnan, is ‘Natural Products’. “The growth for natural products has been coming from other brands who are coming into the natural sector. Every brand has some variant, which is natural, and that is driving their product,” shared Ramakrishnan.

Men are always seeking out for new brands and are trying out 5 brands in key categories on an average annually, he said. “If you look at brands exclusively for men versus brands exclusively for women there is a big difference. Therefore, we at Kantar are saying it should be gaining more attention.”

The Men’s Panel data was based on the urban market.

The other area where FMCG manufacturers are expanding are products specifically designed for babies. Mothers have reduced the usage of manufactured Baby Foods, and this is reflected in the 15 per cent volume drop we see in the space.

“We have definitely established the fact that there is a difference in consumer behaviour,” Ramakrishnan said. “It depends on whether they are from Metros or the rural market. Secondly, their social status. More men are consuming FMCG products online,” he added.

The Kantar World Panel has generated findings internationally as well. Commenting on the similarities in the trends internationally, Ramakrishnan said: “Globally, products that are organic have been gaining prominence.”

As for the differences in trends, Ramakrishnan stated, “India is a country where not more than 10 per cent comes from modern trade from the likes of Big Bazaar and Hypercity. Consumers still shop from local shops. Whereas, the world’s 80 per cent is modern trade, like in the UK and 60% in China. E-commerce has a very small share in terms of the FMCG market as compared to other countries.”

“Penetration will be the key trend in the FMCG sector going forward. Brands grow better by reaching more people than reaching the same people more often. This is a principle we advocate. Brands should accept that there are low-frequency buyers and need to address them. If a brand has money, spending it on consumer loyalty is key. That is what will drive the brand’s growth,” Ramakrishnan explained.

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