Navigating the Consumer Landscape
Anticipating Future Trends, Localising Strategies for Australia and New Zealand, and Shaping Talent for Success.
In today’s rapidly evolving consumer landscape, staying ahead of the curve is paramount for Boards and CEOs of publicly listed, private and private equity owed consumer businesses.
Global and local trends are converging to shape the future of consumer behaviour, demanding strategic agility, innovation, and a deep understanding of local nuances. This paper highlights key global trends and their implications for the Australian and New Zealand markets, backed by relevant local applications. Additionally, it highlights the evolving talent needs required to drive success in this dynamic environment. We also pose questions to spark your thinking about where your own business is currently at.
Consumer businesses are on the cusp of a transformative era. To remain competitive and relevant, Boards and CEOs must anticipate and adapt to the shifting sands of consumer preferences and behaviours. Understanding global trends is essential, but it is equally vital to localise strategies to meet the unique demands of the Australian and New Zealand markets.
Global Consumer Trends
1.Sustainability and Ethical Consumption:
Consumers worldwide are increasingly mindful of the environmental and ethical footprint of their purchases. The adoption of sustainable practices, from sourcing materials to manufacturing processes and packaging, is now a prerequisite for many consumers.
Local Application: Patagonia’s ‘Worn Wear’ Program: 85% of clothing ends up in landfills or gets incinerated. One of the best things we can do for the planet is keep things in use longer and reduce our overall consumption. Patagonia’s initiative to resell and repair used products aligns with this trend, emphasising the importance of sustainability while driving customer loyalty.
Question: Does your business have a focus on sustainable practices? If you do, do you know if it’s enough for your consumers? Do you have a competitor doing it better?
2.E-Commerce and Omnichannel Retail:
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping. Consumers expect a seamless experience whether shopping online, in-store, or via mobile apps, blurring the lines between digital and physical retail spaces.
Local Application: Woolworths’ ‘Scan & Go’ App: This Australian retailer’s innovative app allows customers to scan items as they shop and pay through their smartphones, enhancing convenience and improving the in-store experience, allowing you to skip the checkout altogether.
Question: Is your online experience as easy and frictionless as it could be? Have you asked you consumers what you could improve?
3.Health and Wellness:
The pandemic heightened health awareness, and consumers now prioritise products and services that promote physical and mental well-being. This trend extends to food, personal care, fitness, and beyond.
Local Application: Sanitarium’s Plant-Based Products: A third of Aussies and Kiwis are now reducing the amount of meat they eat, mainly out of concern for their health. The New Zealand-based company’s introduction of plant-based alternatives capitalises on the growing interest in healthier and sustainable eating habits.
Question: Has your business addressed this trend in any way since the pandemic?
4.Personalisation and Data-Driven Insights:
Advancements in AI and data analytics enable businesses to personalise offerings and marketing strategies. Consumers appreciate tailored experiences that cater to their unique needs and preferences.
Local Application: Air New Zealand’s ‘Airpoints’ Program: This loyalty program leverages data to offer personalised travel recommendations and rewards, enhancing customer engagement.
Question: Have you done the research on the application of AI in your business? Is there an option to use it but the business is too risk adverse to try it?
Localised Strategies for Australia and New Zealand
Given the strong environmental ethos in both countries, consumer businesses should prioritise sustainability. Local partnerships, renewable energy adoption, and eco-friendly packaging can help align with consumer values.
2.Embracing the E-Commerce Wave:
In Australia and New Zealand, e-commerce is booming. Investing in digital infrastructure, last-mile delivery solutions, and enhancing online customer experiences are imperative.
With a growing emphasis on health and wellness, businesses should innovate in product offerings and experiences that cater to the needs of health-conscious consumers in the region.
4.Localization in Personalization:
Local nuances matter. Tailor data-driven strategies to reflect the unique preferences and cultural aspects of Australian and New Zealand consumers.
Talent Needs of the Future
To successfully navigate these trends and implement localised strategies, consumer businesses need to invest in the following talent areas:
1.Data Science and Analytics:
Hiring data scientists and analysts is critical to making data-driven decisions and delivering personalised experiences.
Environmental specialists can help businesses adopt sustainable practices and build brand credibility.
3.Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Specialists:
Digital expertise is essential for optimising online channels and enhancing the customer journey.
4.Cultural and Market Insights Teams:
Local knowledge is invaluable for understanding and catering to the unique preferences of Australian and New Zealand consumers.
Question: As a CEO, have you assessed your current team’s capabilities in data science, analytics, sustainability, digital marketing, and cultural insights? Are there skill gaps that need to be filled? Furthermore, have you considered the evolving nature of these fields and the need for continuous learning and adaptation?
As the business landscape transforms, re-evaluating your talent pool becomes an ongoing process. Only by proactively aligning your workforce with these future needs can you effectively harness data, sustainability, digital, and cultural insights to stay competitive and resonate with consumers.
The future of consumer businesses hinges on the ability to anticipate global trends, adapt them to local contexts, and cultivate the right talent. By staying ahead of the curve, Boards and CEOs can ensure their organisations thrive in the evolving consumer landscape of Australia and New Zealand. Embrace change, innovate, and invest in the talent required to shape a prosperous future for your business in this dynamic era.