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It’s the Small Things: Trends in Consumer Products

Read about how coronavirus is turning the home into a grocery store and gym, and other trends shaping consumer products.

It’s the Small Things: Trends in Consumer Products

This edition of “It’s the Small Things” originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of Middle Market Growth. Find it in the MMG archive.

1. Pickup Lines

The number of orders placed online and picked up in person surged 208% in the early weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, and curbside pickup could be here to stay. Shoppers who became accustomed to contactless pickups for groceries and other items during the lockdown will likely continue using those services long after the coronavirus has passed, according to the president of commercial real estate services firm JLL’s Retail Advisory team. —Adobe

2. Empty Shelves, Growing Tastes

Product shortages and tightening budgets stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted brand loyalty and prompted consumers to try branded and generic grocery items they hadn’t bought previously. As many as 65% of U.S. consumers said they have tried new brands after they began sheltering in place, according to data from consulting firm AlixPartners. —Meat+Poultry

3. Amazon Expedition

COVID-19 accelerated digital channel growth in recent months. By mid-April, online orders grew 130% year over year. The spike in digital orders has created fulfillment challenges for retailers, as order picking and last-mile delivery added cost and complexity to their processes. Meanwhile, shoppers stuck at home have switched from placing orders on their phones to using desktop computers instead. —Deloitte

4. Consumers Still Loyal to Storefronts

E-commerce offers a lackluster and inefficient alternative to brick-and-mortar stores when shopping for nonessential goods, a sign that physical retail is here to stay, according to an analyst at Credit Suisse. As larger portions of the country open up, 80% of U.S. consumers plan to visit a physical store, the firm said in May. —Retail Dive

5. Wellness Rethinks Packaging

The wellness trend has endured—and even gained strength—during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report released in April by consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The firm suggested brands should reconsider their communications strategy, such as emphasizing health and cleanliness of a product in marketing messages. —McKinsey & Company

6. Home Is Where the Gym Is

More consumers are working out at home, even as gyms across the country reopen. The home fitness equipment market is projected to grow nearly 3% over the next five years, according to market research firm Reportlinker. With nearly 40% of U.S. adults estimated to be obese, North America leads the global market for home fitness equipment. —Reportlinker

7. Food-makers Skip the Store

As consumers increasingly turn online for their food and beverage needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, PepsiCo announced in May the launch of two direct-to-consumer websites where shoppers can order an assortment of the company’s food and beverage brands. Competitors like Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz have also grown their direct-to-consumer sales. —Forbes