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NEW YORK -- As 2009 comes to a close and a new decade begins, there has been no shortage of predictions from retail experts, research firms and others on what trends will shape retail in 2010.
Based on some of these forecasts -- from restrained consumers looking for value to increased cross-channel competition -- 2010 may not be a bright new year for all retailers. However, there are some positive trends that provide opportunities for convenience store retailers, such as the growing popularity of private label, and consumers increasingly gathering around the dinner table for meals.
Not much will change during 2010 in the realm of consumer spending, as Americans still seem relatively unconvinced there will be drastic improvement in the economy, according to Todd Hale, senior vice president of consumer and shopper insights for The Nielsen Co., parent company to Convenience Store News.
"Consumers' fundamental spending adjustments are likely to last in the next year. Either by choice or necessity, their new-found thriftiness will continue," said Hale.
Almost one-third of consumers (30 percent) said they will use credit less even when conditions improve, with 19 percent saying that they intend to save more money, according to Nielsen research cited by Hale.
Hale also predicted the top five consumer goods spending trends in 2010:
1. Restraint remains the new normal.
2. Value is a top priority.
3. Store brand growth continues.
4. Grocery consolidation intensifies.
5. Assortment wars escalate.
Businesses may pat themselves on the back for surviving a volatile 2009, but the challenges will not end in 2010, according to retail consultant and author John Stanley, who listed seven retail business predictions for the coming year.
Among Stanley's predictions are that the "green shoots of recovery are starting to grow around the world," yet retailers will find they need to loosen the purse strings to stock up, causing an extra short term demand on capital requirements.
"This will be tough on many small retailers," Stanley said. "Having got through the toughest part of the downturn they will now need to find the money to get out of the recession and some of that money may not be forth coming."
Other business trends he forecasted are:
-- Successful businesses will avoid being a "me too." Be famous for something before it is too late, he said.
-- Price will continue to be a focus in 2010, along with time. The best retailers will analyze how they can work with consumers to ensure that they consider their time well spent.
-- Retailers will join the social network.
-- E-retailing will be part of the bricks and mortar retail mix. Yet trust will remain a key ingredient in the transaction and the local retailer with an online shopping presence will be the winner.
-- Specialists will be winners. Globalization is opening up opportunities for retailers, and ethnic diversity is opening up specialist retail opportunities.
-- Change will take place more rapidly in 2010 that in 2009.
The research firm Mintel expects 2010 consumer packaged goods (CPG) trends in 2010 will focus on a twist to familiar items.
Affecting global new product development are these seven trends detailed by the company:
1. Symbol overload: More manufacturers will opt for clean, clear facts on front-of-pack statements in 2010.
2. Sodium reduction: Poised by food companies and health organizations as the next major health movement, yet shopper adoption may be slow.
3. Local gets stretched: The definition of "local" will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to purchase.
4. Simple made special: Chic packaging and premium positioning will make everyday purchases more enjoyable.
5. Color coding for convenience: More manufacturers will color-code products in 2010.
6. Iconic budget brands: Low cost, high quality private labels will thrive.
7. Gen Y cleans up: New cleaning products will highlight simplicity of use and quick, easy results to appeal to these shoppers.
Foodservice Menu and Flavor Trends
Mintel Menu Insights also predicted restaurant menu trends for 2010, with food retailers having an overall focus on high-quality food and ingredients. Those trends c-stores can take note of include:
-- Classically simple: Simple sells. In 2010, menus will highlight classic combinations and simple, pure ingredients.
-- Dining out…in: Expect more retail-restaurant connections in 2010, such as Burger King's launch of its french fries in supermarkets. Additionally, more restaurants will connect with customers by using iPhone apps for things such as online ordering.
-- Inherent health: Building on a health-focused shift in 2009, menus in 2010 will see a sharp increase in good-for-you food and drink, featuring items containing fiber, omega-3, vitamins and antioxidants.
-- Regional ethnic: Menus will dig deeper into ethnic diversity past now-mainstream Mexican, Chinese and Italian foods, into regions such as Tuscany, Brazil, Morocco and even North Carolina barbecue.
Within the menu trends, Mintel predicted flavors that will shape foods in 2010, including:
-- Sweet Potato
-- Rose water
-- Latin Spices
For more 2010 forecasts, be sure to read the Jan. 11, 2009 issue of Convenience Store News, which features the 8th Annual CSNews Industry Forecast Study, which highlights industry and category performance for the coming year.
Nielsen Predicts 2010 Top Consumer Spending Trends
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