Consumers in China and around the world are displaying burgeoning demand for convenient solutions that can help simplify their lives, with busy lifestyles and rising connectivity playing an increasingly pivotal role in buying decisions, according to a new report by global measurement and data analytics company, Nielsen.
The Nielsen Quest for Convenience Report, which explores changing global consumer needs, highlights rapidly growing demand for convenience in China and in other markets around the world. More than one quarter of global consumers say they seek out products which make their life easier (27%) and are convenient to use (26%), the trend is similar in China at 26% and 24% respectively. Globally, around one in five consumers are looking for products which are suitable for small households (20%) in line with China’s 19%. China seems to have an even stronger preference for custom products compared with global consumers, with 23% of Chinese consumers saying they look for products that are tailored to a specific need, four points higher than the global average (19%).
While demand for convenience varies somewhat by region, the Nielsen report reveals six key factors driving consumers’ increasing need for convenience which are consistent globally:
These drivers of convenience, and increasing demand for products and solutions which help to simplify lifestyles, are having an impact across myriad industries, particularly the highly consumer-dependent FMCG sector. The Nielsen report illustrates consumers’ grocery and packaged goods product choices are underpinned by their experiences in three areas: shopping, consumption and brand engagement.
This evolving demand for convenience has given rise to a slew of life-simplifying products such as ready prepared and on-the-go meal solutions, home or office grocery delivery offerings, and tech-driven “on-demand” services. China is one of the leaders globally for convenient meal options. One third (33%) of global consumers use restaurant or meal delivery services (11% at least once a week), while the number surged to 53% in China. Grab-and-go meals from quick-service, fast food and street vendors are also on the rise — 57% of consumers globally, and 65% in China, have visited a fast food outlet in the past six months. Lunch and dinner are the meals most likely to be substituted with out-of-home dining options, with 39% of global online consumers opting to eat outside on a weekly basis, and 48% of consumers in Asia-Pacific and 47% in North America. Again, China stand out from other markets with 57% of Chinese grabbing meals on the go weekly.
Shopping experiences for global consumers are driven by an evolving retail landscape, e-commerce and omnichannel facilities. A Nielsen e-commerce study across 30 countries indicates FMCG online sales are growing an estimated five times faster than offline sales, and by 2020 global FMCG e-commerce will be worth more than US$400 billion and comprise 10%-12% of overall FMCG market share.
Mobile devices and digital platforms are also shaping consumer experiences and transforming brand-to-consumer engagement. Three quarters (75%) of global consumers say they enjoy the freedom of being connected anytime and anywhere, while in China, 85% of consumers agree with this statement. This prevalence of connectivity provides multiple touchpoints for FMCG companies to interact with consumers, and leverage localisation to improve engagement through personalised and authentic recommendations.
“Chinese consumers are living busier, more connected lives that ever. While global markets are also experiencing similar trends that are leading brands to prioritize convenience, China is really leading the way in a few key areas,” said Andy Zhao, President, Nielsen China.
“We see China excelling in e-commerce and digital payments, which saves consumers time and makes purchasing new products easy. Innovation and new product development is responsible for a huge portion of FMCG growth, as Chinese consumers are continuing a trend of consumption upgrade for novel and high-quality goods. Food delivery has exploded in China as well. These are just a few key trends, and we expect to see demand for convenience increase in the future,” concluded Zhao.
The Nielsen Quest for Convenience report looks at changing consumer needs around the world, specifically focusing on factors driving consumers’ increasing need for convenience, such as high density urban living, increasing commuting times and changing roles in our society. Around the globe, consumers need and look for different types of convenience - whether simplicity, time saving or suitability. The report combines global perspectives, regional deep dives, and a number market highlights to compare and contrast interesting and noteworthy differences in convenience trends around the world.