Cutting Through Consumer Sentiment: How to Respond to Shifting Preferences in 2024

Kelcie Gene Papp
December 26, 2023
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LONDON - Did you know McKinsey's 'European Consumer Sentiment: Uncertainty Lingers,' was updated on Monday? To cut through the fog for brand marketers finalising plans for 2024, we've drawn out the key takeaways - unvarnished, raw, and exactly what you need to hit the ground running. Helping you decode complex upcoming consumer behaviour.

What's Been Said

Consumer confidence is mixed across Europe due to geopolitical concerns and price increases, affecting shopping behaviour.

What It Really Means

Brands need to adapt quickly to the varying degrees of optimism and pessimism across European markets. Understanding regional nuances is key to tailoring marketing and pricing strategies.

Consumer Packaged Goods and Inflation

What's Been Said

Two-thirds of consumers are concerned about inflation and climate change, affecting their confidence.

What It Really Means

FMCG brands should focus on value-driven products while incorporating eco-friendly practices. This approach can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and those feeling the pinch of inflation.

Changes in Consumer Spending

What's Been Said

There’s a drop in semi-discretionary spending, with consumers planning to spend less on nonessential items.

What It Really Means

Brands should reevaluate their product lines, prioritising essentials and affordable luxuries. Marketing efforts should highlight value and necessity, especially in categories where consumers are cutting back.

Money-Saving Strategies: Trading Down

What's Been Said

A significant shift towards economical options is observed, with consumers choosing cheaper products or retailers.

What It Really Means

Brands should consider introducing budget-friendly alternatives without compromising quality. This strategy could attract cost-conscious consumers and maintain market share.

Intent to Splurge

What's Been Said

Despite trading down, a considerable segment of consumers intends to splurge, particularly in Germany.

What It Really Means

There’s an opportunity for premium and luxury brands to target these consumers. Marketing should focus on creating aspirational value and promoting the idea of indulgence after saving.

Omnichannel Shopping on the Rise

What's Been Said

Consumers prefer a mix of in-store and online shopping.

What It Really Means

Brands need to enhance their omnichannel presence. Ensuring a seamless shopping experience across all platforms will be crucial to meet consumer expectations.

Whether you're a CMO stood in Pharma or a Creative Director at a beverage packaging design agency; grappling with Europe's spontaneous consumer landscape demands sharp, agile strategies. And, if you're responsible for brand strategy, McKinsey's latest update on 'European Consumer Sentiment: Uncertainty Lingers,' is absolutely essential reading ahead of 2024.

Because It's not just data; it's a pandora's box of insights for those ready to pivot with purpose. Embrace flexibility, prioritise value, and transform these insights into actions that will keep your brand ahead in a market that waits for no one.

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Kelcie Gene Papp
Founder & Editor