Feature image: CPG trends via McKinsey. This visual and additional content about it is contained in the Visual Dataset.
COVID-19 has clearly caused an acceleration in long-term trends that were already in place, namely the disruption in bricks and mortar retail and the growth in e-commerce (see graphic below). China may be the perfect analog to follow. The SARS outbreak in 2002-2004 forced the country to adopt e-commerce as retail was shut down. This helped put the country on a path where it is now 3.5 times ahead of the U.S. in terms of e-commerce penetration (currently ~38% vs ~16% for China and the U.S., respectively).
So far, the same growth that China experienced as a result of SARS is currently playing out in the U.S. While it’s already a given that consumer brands need to build in operations and products for e-commerce, they also really need to pick their retail partners carefully, because many of them will not be around in the future. See this guide I wrote earlier this year: The evolving consumer product retail landscape and how consumer goods startups can best take advantage.
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