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The Consumer Goods Industry Is the New Battleground for Connected Commerce

New technologies and business models are providing consumers with more choices than ever—from products and pricing to delivery options. In effect, a thousand consumers can travel a thousand different paths to purchase. These changes are having a profound impact on shopper expectations and journeys, disrupting the path to purchase at every stage and making the traditional playbook obsolete.

At The Global Summit of the Global Consumer Goods Forum held in Berlin, Konrad Gerszke, President, Lead Markets at Nielsen, hosted a special session, “No Norm is the New Norm,” for consumer goods manufacturer and retailer companies from around the world. The session investigated the disruptive forces redefining today’s path to purchase and outlined effective strategies to capture opportunities in this changing landscape.

Today, 50% of consumers are engaged in connected commerce activities, which go beyond buying online and include digital buying-related activities such as searching for product information, reviews, pricing and coupons. These digital influences are playing a bigger part in consumer’s decision making  and changing how they’re shopping in unexpected ways.

“The path to purchase is evolving rapidly, and no norm has been established yet. This disruption provides retailers and manufacturers with new opportunities to reach shoppers,” said Konrad.

While e-commerce figures for consumer goods seem relatively small today, many categories are growing rapidly, and a few have already established an online foothold.


This growth is helped in part by the surging number of emerging digital-driven models, such as subscriptions, meal-kits and click and collect. In this new environment, small brands are thriving. Small brands are growing much faster than large established brands in most developed markets. In 10 European markets, large brands sales fell 0.8% while small brands grew 2.9% in 2016.

So what must companies do to set themselves up for success in this new environment? Konrad outlined four potential areas of opportunity:

  • Truly understand connected commerce, from search and reviews to content marketing;
  • Incentivize teams to think omni-channel;
  • Address unique consumer needs with highly targeted offerings; and
  • Provide a differentiated, even personal shopper experience; consider experimenting with new business models.