Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest producers of consumer goods, has noticed several new consumer trends during the pandemic. Gabriel McKee, Vice President of Procter & Gamble for Central Europe, describes the first changes: “First of all, the interest in high-quality and functional products has increased, secondly, the requirements for the company’s environmental behavior have increased, and last but not least, sales have increased from online sales as well. Due to the increasing demands for product quality, Procter & Gamble launched an innovative program in which it changed the composition of Many products – such as those for dishwashing or laundry. Innovative products are also more hygienic, more efficient and perform higher.”
Gabriel McKee notes that unlike other sectors, the P&G pharmaceutical group has not had to lay off its staff — on the contrary, it has even had to hire a new workforce, representing quarantined employees and helping during times of high sales. Gabriel McKee identifies: “In the second half of the year, our worldwide sales increased 8 percent, more than in previous years.” However, sales did not increase across the entire line of drugstore products – the growth was mainly related to dishwashing preparations as well as detergents. “Overall, we see an increase in sales of products that help people keep families clean and healthy,Gabriel Makki adds.
On the other hand, low demand can be observed, for example, in the category of shavers or shampoos. This is associated with a change in consumer behavior when working from home and fewer social events and sporting activities. However, Gabriel McKee predicts that after the pandemic, sales of these products will return to record numbers. Procter & Gamble’s goal is to increase its share of these categories and increase the rate of sales growth for those products that have reported lower percentages of sales growth during the pandemic than in previous years.
Online shopping boom
Another trend is online shopping. During the pandemic, consumers were shopping more at local stores and online. With the ability to buy online, they have removed the health risks that come with frequent visits to crowded malls and supermarkets. Gabriel Makki adds: “In Europe, for example, online e-commerce sales increased by 50% compared to last year, and this trend has brought about many changes in the field of logistics – factories have accelerated production processes in factories to ensure rapid delivery of products directly to consumers. Increased Domestic store sales by about 10% and online sales by up to 70% worldwide. That is why we had to reorganize some of our marketing, sales and delivery processes to offer more products in smaller quantities to more locations.”
Ecology comes first
Last but not least, sustainability is another major trend that started before the pandemic, but continues to grow. Procter & Gamble is trying to cope with consumer pressure as quickly as possible, so it has decided to cut emissions by up to 50% by 2030. In Europe, it wants to achieve this even earlier. Also, the operation of all European factories and distribution centers as of this year is on renewable sources, which in 2020 accounted for up to 90% of the energy consumed.
Another environmental step is to increase recycled plastic in bottles – it must be completely recycled or reused by 2030. Innovative water-free products, called EC30 Dry Concentrate Technology, should contribute to a greener future. The product then works with water, which the consumer himself uses while using the product (eg: shampoo in cubes or pucks). Gabriel Makki predicts: “I see huge potential in dry focus technology, because the product takes up much less space, so millions of tons of packaging can be saved and this will also significantly reduce transportation costs. At Procter & Gamble, we do not choose between profit and the environment, but we strive For these two things to go hand in hand, and similarly, the economic and environmental behavior of our customers must complement each other – our business model will not be sustainable and complete if it is provided to improve the lives of five billion consumers around the world, without taking into account the environmental impact of those products.”
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