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Uncover the trends that are shaping the future of grocery.

This past year has once again proven something that everyone who works in the grocery industry already knows—that no trend is ever set in stone. Whether it's the variation between online and in-store shopping, the desire to find discounts, or the return of restaurants, 2023 was anything but predictable. 

Before we enter into 2024, let's take a moment to survey some of the key themes from this past year. Reflecting on these trends helps set the stage for what to expect in the new year and how CPGs can best prepare for a constantly evolving audience. 

Multi-Channel Engagement: The New Shopping Norm

Today's shoppers are channel-agnostic, moving fluidly between online and offline outlets. They are embracing e-commerce for convenience while still valuing the tactile experience of physical stores. 

This multi-channel approach is not just about convenience; it reflects a bigger change in consumer preferences and expectations. A study revealed that 65% of consumers expect a seamless experience across online and offline channels. CPG brands must recognize this and ensure their presence is consistent — and existent — across all platforms. This means maintaining consistency in branding, product availability, and messaging whether a customer shops online, in a store, or through a mobile app — sometimes all in the same session.

The key for CPG brands is to create a seamless omnichannel presence, ensuring their products and messages resonate across all platforms. This approach caters to the shopper who checks product reviews online before purchasing in-store or browses in a physical store but makes the final purchase online.

Deal-Seeking Behavior

Economic factors, increased market competition, and easier access to price comparisons online have led to a more price-conscious consumer base. Today’s shoppers are more informed than they’ve ever been and use digital tools to find the best grocery and product prices. This change in consumer behavior highlights the need for retailers and brands to adapt their strategies to cater to this new generation of tech-savvy customers.

 Retail Media Networks provide an expansive platform for CPG brands to reach deal-seeking consumers effectively. An effective network helps facilitate promotions and deals that can target narrowly and reach a tailored audience of potential buyers. Plus, by providing crucial first-party data, brands are better positioned to run effective campaigns in the future. 

Increased Spending on Dining Out over Groceries

Another noticeable trend is the increased spending on dining out over buying groceries. While this might seem troublesome at first glance, the shift actually presents a significant opportunity for CPG brands. 

U.S. consumers spent more on food in 2023 than ever before, even after adjusting for inflation — but dining out is still winning. In an intriguing turn of consumer spending trends, people spent 20.7% more at restaurants than on groceries in 2022, escalating to 29.5% in the first two months of 2023. This data signals a growing preference for dining out over grocery shopping, posing a unique challenge for brands. 

The data means that CPGs must adopt strategic measures to win back consumer attention and spending. RMNs can be instrumental in helping CPGs reverse this trend. By leveraging the targeted advertising and promotional capabilities of RMNs, brands can effectively reach and engage consumers, reminding them of the benefits and convenience of cooking at home. 

RMNs enable CPG brands to deliver targeted promotions directly to consumers who are most likely to be swayed. These could include discounts, loyalty rewards, or limited-time offers that create a sense of urgency. By personalizing these promotions based on consumer behavior and preferences, brands can increase their appeal and compete more effectively with the restaurant industry.

Retail Media Networks' Strategic Edge

RMNs have revolutionized how customers interact with brands, blending technology and personalization to offer unparalleled marketing flexibility. However, this power requires a strategic approach. Brands must prioritize providing real value, respecting data privacy, and maintaining transparency. This careful balance ensures customers have a positive, seamless experience, strengthening their relationship with your brand and boosting long-term sales.

By relying on effective RMNs, brands can craft promotions and recommendations that truly resonate with individual preferences, enhancing engagement and fostering brand loyalty. As a powerful medium for targeted promotions and advertisements, RMNs help retailers and CPG brands effectively reach and engage with value-conscious consumers both online and in-store, turning their deal-seeking tendencies into a business opportunity.