The latest COVID-19 Impact Report from IRI Markets Dashboards, for the month of October, shows that while the 'stocking up' trend has subsided in most markets, some countries are showing higher than average sales growth.
The study found that FMCG demand in Europe has slowed to +3%, with some exceptions – the Netherlands has posted a +13% increase, while France is up +7%.
The report reviews FMCG trends in seven European countries, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Germany and the UK, as well as the US.
Private label sales are also slowing in most European countries, IRI said, with the exception of the Netherlands.
Range optimisation is largely being implemented across retailer private label ranges, rather than across mainstream brands, it found, with private label food ranges down 6% and drinks ranges down 3%.
Other than online, which continues to see strong growth, another channel which has seen performance increase is hypermarkets, 'as they are seen to be the best place for social distancing with all products available ‘under one roof’, according to IRI.
Despite a favourable economic context, discounters are finding the going tougher, however, with a lack of investment in e-commerce seen as a weakness.
In terms of pricing, price growth has shown signs of decreasing (+2.7%), except in the UK, with promotions retuning to the aisles (+6.4%).
In terms of future opportunities in FMCG, IRI said that increased at-home dining is likely to lead for increased demand for 'convenient, healthy and affordable price options', particularly in healthy food treats, ready-to-cook foods and home cooking ingredients.
Innovations are also likely to shift the focus from price to consumer experience, it added.
'Brand equity and innovation is the must-have that drives category growth and/or the footfall that retailers need: for instance, a collaboration to provide meal solutions that combine national brands and private label,' IRI said.
Elsewhere, with e-commerce increasingly a winning channel, supply chains will need to work hard to sustain this growth, and avoid out of stocks.
Traditional retail is also likely to retain its allure, even amidst tightening lockdown restrictions, as 'the momentum of hypermarkets in Europe highlights interest for bricks and mortar as a marketplace'.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.