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Appealing to the New Consumer

Posted: July 22, 2010

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Even beyond the actual products, consumers have also grown increasingly aware of and concerned about the environmental and sustainability practices of their favorite brands. Reducing waste, packaging, and energy consumption is on everyone’s minds, forcing companies to evolve their operations to meet consumer demand. While today’s consumers are concerned about value, they also seek products and brands from companies whose values they can identify with. This movement has shaped the trend toward value packaging, concentrated and combination products, as well as reformulations—such as the eradication of phosphates from dishwasher detergent.

Professional products take a back seat

The new consumer frugality leveled a serious blow to the professional skin and hair care markets. With the focus shifting away from prestige to more budget-friendly indulgences, visits to spas, salons and medical offices have dropped off dramatically, with a drastic decline in demand for cosmetic procedures and take-home products. Aside from trading down to value-priced mainstream brands, consumers took to the Internet and home shopping channels for discounted pricing. However, an early read of 2010 results indicates that these professional channels are already rebounding.

At one time, in the face of these challenges, brand marketers might attempt to lead consumers down a chosen path by delivering products that meet the brand’s specific agenda. However, in the new global and inter-connected economy, consumers are now in the driver’s seat with more products and brands to choose from than ever before. With the loss of private label’s “generic” stigma, a more vocal and connected consumer audience and a renewed consumer focus on value, marketers must understand these evolving consumer insights to develop and deliver the innovative, value-driven products consumers demand.

By Carrie Mellage, director, consumer products, Kline & Company, July 22, 2010