Convenience store operators need to be aware of three key emerging consumer lifestyle trends in order to be fully prepared to serve shoppers this year and in the future, according to a new study from HIM Research & Consulting.
The Future of Convenience report looks into trends labelled Fast Consumption, The Casual Connoisseur and The Modern Mindset to unlock some insight into potential changes in shopping patterns and requirements.
With average commuting time on the increase and a whole generation of younger consumers growing up with their smartphone as the only source of reference, Fast Consumption considers groups called The One Swipe Generation and the Smart Commuter for whom time is valuable but still want purchases to be personal to them without any extra effort. As such, retailers should consider making increased use of data to ensure shoppers are presented with more relevant and personalised products, pack sizes and information for quick shopping and on-the-go consumption, including day-part merchandising changes and even dynamic pricing to reflect varying degrees of freshness, for example.
The second key trend, The Modern Mindset, describes how consumers have increasing expectations of retailers and other organisations to help them lead healthier lives, and where health is seen to include a state of mind as well as body.
For example, one third of the UK population is now aware of the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’, meaning a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday things more meaningful, beautiful or special, while 49% of shoppers say they would be more likely to purchase from a convenience store that has a break out area to sit down and eat/drink. As a result, shoppers will expect to see a wider array of healthy options in store, but balanced with indulgent lines accompanied by high levels of presentation and ‘theatre’.
The third emerging trend is that of the Casual Connoisseur, whereby easy access to the internet has increased consumers’ product knowledge and driven awareness of global issues, such that they can form communities based on common interests rather than just proximity.
Companies in the food industry therefore have an opportunity to connect with consumers in new ways through tackling waste, environmental damage and ethically-sourced products.
Louise McWhirter, head of insights at HIM, commented: “With the rise in consumers as ‘experts’, shopper expectation is rising. In a world where opinions are shared with hundreds at the click of a mouse, brand and retailer transparency is key. There is also opportunity to shape ‘communities’ based on consumer interests and preferences, with brand playing a big role in forming such network hubs.”
She continued: “With commutes getting longer and lifestyles becoming busier, people shopping and consuming on the go is set to grow and convenience stores are well placed to tap into this ‘need it now’ attitude. Retailers and suppliers should be maximising meal time day parts and on the go pack sizes to fit the need of the modern shopper.
“‘Health’ is a subject which is ever evolving. How we viewed health and what it meant to us 10 years ago, is not what it means now. Similarly, what we consider to be a healthy lifestyle now, will not be the same in a decade’s time. With this, mental wellness will become just as big a part of the conversation around health, as physical wellness is at the moment. Suppliers and retailers need to consider how expectations around health and wellness are evolving for future NPD and branding strategies.”
For more information on the Future of Convenience report or other shopper insight studies, visit www.him.uk.com.