As promised, the blog is today looking at a key European consumer trend, as part of its Budget Outlook week. 70% of chemical sales are consumer-related, so changes in these trends are very important.
Earlier this month, it shared a platform in Bahrain with Thibaut Eissautier, Chief Procurement Officer of McBride, Europe's leading own-label producer of household and personal care products. 81% of his purchases relate to chemicals, from packaging materials through to the actual ingredients.
He noted that Europe has the highest global penetration of own-label goods (those supplied to supermarkets under their own label). And it has risen 10% since 2007, with one in six products now own-label in the household care sector. He outlined 5 key trends driving this trend:
• Value for money. "Consumers are more price-sensitive than ever".
• Simplicity. They "want less complicated life-styles".
• People, not things. They increasingly "prioritise what is important in life, such as family and friends", and often only "enjoy small moments of indulgence", which they prefer to achieve via "bargain-hunting".
• Values. Sustainability, carbon footprint, trustworthiness and performance are key for many consumers.
• Local. Convenience/express stores and online options are therefore gaining ground versus hypermarkets.
Most of these trends are quite different from those of the past 20 years, when affluent European consumers often defined themselves by the car they drove, or the house they owned. They therefore add a further element of uncertainty, when it comes to forecasting future chemical demand patterns.