Stay Abreast of Consumer TrendsJune 2009 by Sal Pellingra
An interesting phenomenon occurs in bulk or large buying versus smaller unit buying. Some consumers tend to move toward the lower dollar spend, meaning they buy only the necessary amount to get through until the next shopping opportunity, while others go for the lower dollar spend over time or bulk buying. In struggling economies it is the former. Many countries would be astonished at the size of toothpaste tubes in the U.S. Only the smallest hotel size is affordable in some countries.
Other trends include shifts toward private label or lower-cost items versus major brands. Coupon shopping, stepped up retail and brand sale events, and convenient locations can often draw consumers looking for savings.
So where do we go with all of this and how does it relate to package printers and packagers? It is clear that manufacturers need to follow consumer trends in order to compete for sales. What brought us success in the past will not always bring us success in the future. Successful products need to provide some benefit in cost or functionality. Packages must stand out to grab the consumer's attention. Remember that 3- to 6-second window for a consumer decision. A new format in a sea of "me too's" will stand out. Partnering with suppliers that can help develop new concepts and make them reality will be key for success.
Focusing on high-growth trends and being willing to move from successful "old" technologies to current or future technologies will provide germination for future growth and success. I'm currently on my way home from a business trip as I write this. My plan is to grab a bag of steamable broccoli, garlic, imported Italian pasta, a small bottle of unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, a $13 bottle of wine, and a loaf of bread. I'm looking forward to 20 minutes in the kitchen and a restaurant-quality dinner and wine with my wife at a fraction of the cost and time to have a similar fine meal at a local restaurant. How many others are doing something similar and what is your company doing to capitalize on this? Don't gamble on your company's future. Watch how consumers are changing and invest in the future.
Sal Pellingra is the innovation and marketing director at Ampac Flexibles (www.ampaconline.com). Previously, he spent 25 years with ExxonMobil Film Business in various roles including product and market development. Pellingra holds BS and MBA degrees from The Rochester Institute of Technology.