Consumed by Challenges and the Changing Consumer Mindset

Consumed by Challenges and the Changing Consumer Mindset

Michelle Moran, Editor In Chief, Progressive Grocer & Gourmet Retailer

Collaboration is the theme vividly painted at The Nielsen Company’s Consumer 360 morning kick off – as attendees found themselves consumed in data illustrating a continuously changing consumer mindset, fed by an ongoing shift in consumer psychology. And the message was clear from the start: collaboration at the retail-vendor level will be key the successfully navigating this challenging, changing landscape.

The grocery industry, indeed all of retail, is caught in the turmoil described in David Bowie’s 1971 classic “Changes.” Ch-ch-changes…turn and face the strain…Ch-ch-changes…just gonna have to be a different man. And while Bowie may have focused on the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention, the retail industry is focused now on its own reinvention – and that of today’s consumer.

Almost as if echoing Bowie’s own theatrical presentations, The Nielsen Company collaborated with Infinia Group to create a multi-media experience, entitled “Consumed: The Economy Hits Home.”

The dynamic learning platform brings guests into the minds of consumers with a series of video screens – streaming messages, visions, pictures, thoughts and observations, and of course, cutting-edge Nielsen data — combined to paint an exhibit of Mark Leiter (President, Professional Services) and John Lewis’ (President & CEO, North America of Nielsen Consumer] analysis Consumer or Consumed: Achieving Clarity in an Uncertain World.

Viewers of Consumed literally walk through Nielsen’s data and the consumer mind, sharing the latest perspective on how macro forces in today’s unpredictable economy are shaping consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. The fact is that today’s consumer is stressed, but the fact still remains that consumers are still actively shopping, buying and using a wide range of essential products. How the industry chooses to move ahead in the most productive manner is critical.

“Navigating through this new landscape requires bold leadership coupled with a sophisticated, analytical edge, one that allows you to see around the next corner and spot the many new options for growth as quickly as possible.”

Consumed spotlights nine chapters or elements to navigate- Contrast, Changes, Coping, Challenges, Channels, Choices, Competition, Clarity and Curiosity. In a blitz of media messages, the participant’s vision becomes clear – change is inevitable and welcome. The mission now is to get close to our consumers as an industry, understand and service their needs.

Key points include:

  • The American dream is enduring, although that dream was just heavily edited.
  • Most Americans can still afford the essentials: food, clothing and shelter.
  • Living a healthier lifestyle isn’t a passing fad or fashion.
  • Consumers are creatively redefining the media landscape.
  • Long-term demographic forces will continue to created unprecedented growth opportunities.