Consumer trust and loyalty is the key focus area among consumer and retail executives, whilst new entrants pose the greatest external challenge, according to the fifth annual Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey by KPMG International and The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).
Of the 526 consumer and retail executives surveyed globally, a third (33%) said that consumer trust and loyalty would be their top priority for the next two years – ranking above product and pricing (29%) and customer experience (26%). Further emphasising the significance being placed on both trust and loyalty, nearly three quarters of the executives (74%) said that they were ‘very’ to ‘critically’ important to their short-term success.
When asked which external factors posed the biggest threat, over a third of the executives (35%) said competition from new entrants marked the greatest external challenge. Meanwhile, declining consumer loyalty (37%), increasing preference to shop and buy online (33%) and increasing expectation for immediate services (30%) were noted as the main consumer-driven disruptors.
Liz Claydon, UK Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG, commented:
“In this age of increased disruption and volatility, change comes thick and fast, and executives of consumer and retail businesses are all too aware of the challenges this presents to their growth prospects, if not their survival.
You don’t have to look far to find a new entrant who has swooped in and snapped up market share with an innovative approach that better meets the ever-rising expectations and changing needs of today’s customer. In the eyes of the customer being loyal to a particular brand is not as important as it once was. This means experience has become the primary differentiator in the battleground for success, and the larger players are having to starting thinking like start-ups.
For established players, paying close attention to consumer trends and launching innovative products is of course one important step towards growth. However, it is often the speed and agility with which they meet ever-changing consumer demands that is perhaps the defining factor. This is where new entrants typically have the upper hand. Significant growth will not come from reacting to a market, it will come from leading it.”
Adrian Clamp, UK Head of Customer Advisory, commented:
“Too often in the past, company executives wrongly believed that customer loyalty could be improved with the launch of a new product or loyalty points scheme.
In a world of increased cyber threats and data breaches, the trust that customers place in a brand can be quickly undermined. Our survey tells us that executives recognise the uncomfortable fact that customers have more power than ever and while it is important to improve customer experience, customers will take their business elsewhere if their bond of trust is broken.
Today’s customers also seek out companies which are easy to do business with, resolve issues quickly and provide excellent personalised service. In response, many companies have begun to undertake end-to-end digital transformation, breaking down internal silos to make connections across the entire value chain in order to enable speed and agility when responding to the changing needs of customers.”
To view the latest Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind Survey, Think like a start-up: How to grow in a disruptive market, please visit: www.kpmg.com/CMsurvey.
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Notes to editor:
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KPMG Press Office
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About the Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey
Now in its fifth year, this annual survey was conducted by telephone and online between March and April of 2017. A total of 526 senior executives from companies headquartered in 31 countries participated in the survey. The respondents were senior executives at global companies from food, drink or consumer goods, manufacturing and/or retail sectors, with at least US $500 million in annual revenues.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 13,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.07 billion in the year ended 30 September 2016. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 189,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.