Two additional groups launch around independent insights and global category leadership

August 1, 2023
By Jackie Lewis, VP of Content for CMA | SIMA

As the inflationary environment has started to cool CMA and SIMA members are looking to the back half of 2023 for how shoppers will behave in the time of year traditionally characterized by higher discretionary spending. If Amazon’s annual Prime Day is any indication, sales were aided by deep discounting and a new ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ option.

Our private networking groups of small to mid-sized manufacturers and private label met over the last few months, focusing on the growth in private label share and trade down in the wake of inflation. Suppliers across categories face the challenge of needing productive SKUs to remain on shelves while also pushing innovation as retailers are starting to lean more toward disruptive, differentiated brands.

We are excited to announce two new private networking groups launched in 2Q23 around independent insights and analytics and global category leadership. The former is made up of category management and shopper insights teams reporting up into a centralized independent insights and analytics function internally to discuss the pros/cons of this unique but increasingly common structure. The latter is a group of non-competitive global manufacturers that discuss what category leadership means across countries, and share ways to standardize measurement, reporting, and metrics. These high-level executives also examine the value of advisorships in different regions and help each other share best practices across their various teams.

The CMA and SIMA strive to stay on top of industry trends and specifically how they impact the category management and shopper insights functions. One of the ways we do this is through our quarterly private networking groups (PNGs) made up of suppliers and retailers to discuss industry pain points and best practices.

While the full notes remain available to participants only, we wanted to share some of the key takeaways from meetings held in 2Q (April-June). These are meant to both inform on real-time industry topics and make members and non-members aware of the networking opportunities available through ARC (The Association for Retail and Consumer Professionals).

Key Takeaways on Shopper Behavior

  1. Up-to-date shopper segmentation research was shared among participants. Price-driven segments remain a challenge for suppliers to win given persistent inflation, and there’s a sense these shoppers can’t be won back until prices cool.
  2. Even with elevated prices, shoppers are devoting some funds to treat themselves, but in budget-minded ways, leading to changes in purchasing behavior. In the alcohol category, shoppers have traded down to smaller package sizes, but also traded up to larger bottled spirits to make dollars go farther.
  3. Participants agreed that getting real shopper insights fast and inexpensively is a major goal for their teams. To that end, TikTok has become indispensable for monitoring consumer trends in real-time.

Key Takeaways from NEW Independent Insights & Analytics Group

  1. For the majority of participants the move to an independent insights department has been recent, and many are working through the challenges being siloed from sales, RGM, etc in a new structure.
  2. Some best practices to combat that include committing to producing a bi-annual report and hosting a meeting with other departments to stay connected. Good content can provide a seat at the table.
  3. As with other private networking groups, participants are looking to the second half of the year with great interest on the continued effects of inflation (dollars are growing, what happens to units), and the permanence of COVID/post-COVID behavior shifts, ie. work-from-home.

Key Takeaways from NEW Global Category Leadership Group

  1. Global leaders generally agree bucketing retail customers across countries/regions into 3 classifications helps to standardize expectations and set global category leadership goals. These consist of some variation of Partner, Validator, and Transactional.
  2. The eCommerce environment has added complexity, as the relationship with one retail customer and its corresponding classification could vary between brick & mortar and digital, especially when the buying teams are separate.
  3. As different markets define things differently, some metrics should not be mandatory but more measurements of success (example: support for promo activities).