Cautious spending, need for pampering among key trends to shape 2021 consumer behavior | Inquirer Business

Cautious spending, need for pampering among key trends to shape 2021 consumer behavior

/ 05:01 AM February 26, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have a huge influence on overall consumer behavior and mobility this year, according to Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company.


“The nature of our quarantine restrictions and our confidence in enjoying any mobility drastically changes our behavior as consumers and shoppers,” said Marie-Anne Lezoraine, general manager of the Worldpanel Division of Kantar Philippines.

Lezoraine said the fundamentals of brand growth would remain the same in 2021, in that attracting the largest number of consumers and shoppers will remain key. However, achieving this will depend on any fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company’s ability to evolve with the times and the emergence of new consumer needs resulting from a stay-at-home lifestyle.


Kantar has identified 12 trends that will impact how consumers will navigate the new normal in shopping this 2021.

The baby boom impact

Citing a study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund, the Commission on Population and Development said nearly 2 million babies are expected to be born in the country this year. This baby boom will present opportunities for baby categories as well as the full repertoire of FMCG products, especially for new mothers.

Cautious spending

Throughout the pandemic, most households have cut their FMCG expenditure to manage their budgets. In fact, based on Kantar’s Purchase Confidence Study in July 2020, 79 percent expressed worry about their financial situation. Thus, Kantar emphasized value for money as the highest consideration as Filipino shoppers focus on making the most of their budget.

E-commerce expansion

Online shopping remains nascent in the Philippines despite the disruption experienced by brick and mortar stores due to the pandemic. Based on its findings, only 8 percent of the population purchased FMCG products online in 2020. Yet this channel is undeniably growing, with 772,000 additional buyers, although it currently remains skewed toward higher income classes and National Capital Region (NCR) shoppers. To leverage this channel, Kantar said brands must not underestimate the differences in behavior and basket content of online vs offline consumers. E-commerce as a marketing touchpoint may also lead to offline purchases.

Leveraging omnichannel

Loyalty to one channel is almost nonexistent. Filipinos continuously adapt their channel repertoire depending on their needs. Lezoraine explained that this has reinforced omnichannel shopping and keeping the pulse of channel choices is critical as behavior has become more volatile.

Enjoying convenience and proximity of local retailers

In relation to the fourth trend, each retailer holds a unique positioning. Shoppers with limited mobility prefer proximity when visiting stores in their locality. Kantar noted that 9 out of 10 Filipinos prefer to shop in nearby stores, offering an opportunity for retailers to consider expanding in or close to residential areas.



Unsurprisingly, antibacterial products have been highly relevant to Filipino households. However, as more brands leverage their virus-killing advantage, they would need to step up their game and combine this essential function with additional benefits.

The quest for immunity

In addition, the quest for health and immunity benefits of FMCG products is undeniable, according to Kantar. Brand growth is possible if they would be able to raise awareness on the health and nutritional value of their products to attract more Filipino consumers.

Bringing the outside in

In 2021, Filipinos are likely to increase their mobility assuming we see an easing of quarantine restrictions across the country. But they will remain very cautious in venturing out. Filipinos may seek convenience and versatility as their lifestyles continue to evolve and brands must be able to adapt accordingly.

Impulse at home

Last year, less frequent purchases and budgetary constraints affected impulse categories. Both these factors are expected to continue in 2021. But assuming mobility stabilizes or improves, the recovery of impulse products could experience slow but sustained growth.

The joys of pampering again

The personal care category, particularly beauty products, were drastically deprioritized when the Philippines implemented the enhanced community quarantine in March 2020. Similar to impulse categories, Kantar expects that the new year would see the slow return of the Filipinos’ beauty routine. This will still be subject, however, to improved mobility and the consumers’ aspiration for normality.

Regionalization of behaviors

There have always been nuances in shopping behavior by region. With the pandemic evolving at a different pace, brands would need to keep a pulse on regional behavior and customize their execution of marketing touchpoints to reach consumers based in the NCR, northern or southern Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao.


Kantar, in its Who Cares Who Does Philippines 2020 report, found that 75 percent of Filipino shoppers seek out brands that offer ways to offset their environmental impact. Most importantly, consumers see it as the role of manufacturers to drive the sustainability agenda. Developing a sustainability strategy has become paramount for brands moving forward.

According to Lezoraine, these trends will not necessarily manifest in all shoppers nor will it be equal across all Filipino households. “It is important to identify key targets, prioritize them based on how valuable they may be for your business and activate it through the right pack, price and channel strategy in order to reach more consumers more than a year into the pandemic,” she said.

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