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Infographic: The 4 post-pandemic French consumer profiles

Drawing on actual purchasing behaviour from panels and a joint survey of 25,000 shoppers in France, the UK and Spain, Kantar defines four standard shopper profiles: from the most protected to the most exposed to economic stress.

Forecasting purchasing behaviour continues to be a major challenge for the FMCG industry. And since the beginning of the health crisis, the challenge seems even more ambitious. 54% of French shoppers express the desire to change their purchasing behaviour for FMCG products (food, liquids, hygiene, beauty, cleaning). On the basis of actual purchasing behaviour from panels and a joint survey of 25,000 shoppers in France, the UK and Spain, Kantar identified four typical shopper profiles.

French shoppers are not very optimistic about the future of their purchasing power

Future changes could prove to be anxiety-provoking for most manufacturers, as for French shoppers, the word "future" does not really rhyme with "optimism".

While less than one in two French people are optimistic about the long term (next 12 months / 47%), the same percentage of French people state that they are not sure that things will get better for them once the health crisis is over (49%). A situation that might seem hopeless, but which conceals disparate states of mind and behaviours, which will shape the post-pandemic shopper. The segmentation carried out by the Kantar institute has identified 4 different groups of French shoppers, with profiles that are also found in the UK and Spain.

1. The preserved: 20% of French households and account for 19% of FMCG spending

The great majority are retired people who are not in financial difficulty, and the vast majority do not expect their income to decline as a result of the crisis. Compared to the French population, they are quite logically older and more likely to live in small households (1 to 2 people). They are generally optimistic (59%), and have confidence in manufacturers (brands and distributors) to participate in the recovery of the economy, but also to boost their purchasing power. About half of them want to change their purchasing behaviour, with a more qualitative trend, notably the growth of purchases in local shops to support the local economy.

2. Pragmatists: 33% of households and 34% of FMCG spending

In this group, there is a significant over-representation of families, households with comfortable incomes, and shoppers who are slightly younger than the national average. Although the pandemic has had only a very moderate impact on their professional and financial situation, they do not seem to be convinced that a better future is on the horizon, with only 53% being optimistic in the long term. Their purchasing behaviour is also changing, with a desire for more quality, organic food - which they already buy more than the average - and local products.

3. The fighters: 15% of households and 16% of FMCG spending

This group is on average the youngest of the four, and also represents an above-average proportion of families, and has an income in line with that of the French population. This group is made up of shoppers for whom the consequences of the pandemic, whether at work or financially, are somewhat more marked. Some of them fear that their situation will worsen in the future. However, they are more optimistic in the long term (69%), and the majority are convinced that they will ultimately "get through it" (74% vs. 49% on average for France). They also have a lot of confidence in brands and retailers to help the country's economic recovery and increase their purchasing power in the process.

These shoppers have a slightly higher intention to change than the previous two groups. And this should take the form of a dual focus on quality via local products, but also a search for promotions and low prices, the budgetary constraint being stronger in this group than in the previous two.

4. The vulnerable: almost 1/3 of households and 32% of FMCG spending

Their profile is very heterogeneous, since they include working people, retirees and job seekers. Shoppers have been most affected by the crisis in terms of both their professional situation and their income. They are very pessimistic about the future and expect their situation to deteriorate. They think that their situation has always been complicated, even before the pandemic, and they do not trust anyone to help them: neither the brands nor the distributors. Their intention to change is very strong, and unsurprisingly very much oriented towards the search for low prices and promotions, which will push them towards greater purchases from discounters.

Conclusion: 4 groups, each with different expectations, attitudes and behaviour. But also a different appetite for change which will be measured via a dedicated indicator: the risk score. The risk score indicator makes it possible to understand the level of change and the associated risk for a brand or a category. It is built on the basis of the answers to the questionnaire and the purchasing behaviour from the panel. Logically, the more vulnerable the profile, the higher the risk score.

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