Even as vaccine distribution accelerates through many regions, a retail industry group says the concept of a “new normal” remains elusive, and is tracking five trends emerging from the pandemic that could become permanent, shaping the future of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector.
Overall, demand for CPGs will likely slow from the extreme highs experienced during covid lockdowns, but stay well above pre-pandemic norms long after vaccines become widely available, the Arlington, Virginia-based Consumer Brands Association said.
Though the group expects 2021 CPG purchases to decelerate between 1% and 2% from 2020 levels, the annual rate of purchases is still expected to grow by 7.4% to 8.5% compared with 2019 levels, the association said in its report, “Five Trends Emerging from Covid-19 That Will Redefine the Industry.”
Those numbers reveal that the overall impact of the pandemic will mark a fundamental change for the industry, especially when a survey showed that Americans think the return to relative “normalcy” will be slow.
Asked when they would consider the pandemic over and resume their typical activities, the most common response (36%) was when most Americans are vaccinated and enough time has passed to confirm safety, according to a Consumer Brands Association/Ipsos poll of 1,008 American adults. However, nearly the same number (33%) said that the threat of Covid-19 will never completely go away. And very few indicated they felt the pandemic was already over (7%) or they would consider it past when the most at-risk Americans and essential workers were vaccinated (7%).
“There is no ‘normal’ to which the industry will return — urgent transformation is the only way forward,” Consumer Brands President and CEO Geoff Freeman said in a release. “From elevated demand to supply chain to managing waste, everything about the consumer packaged goods industry is in the midst of dramatic change and capitalizing on enormous opportunities.”
According to the study, that transformation will include five main trends:
NEW REPORT: One year into a pandemic, we’re no longer wondering what the future holds — with vaccine distribution underway, we’re now deciding it. Check out 5 trends that’ll redefine our industry post-pandemic. https://t.co/1AZsxh5yYt pic.twitter.com/3u6LneAO5l— Consumer Brands (@consumerbrands) March 11, 2021