Retail sales, inflation, investors’ view of brand: 5 interesting stats to start your week

We arm you with all the numbers you need to tackle the week ahead.

Retail sales volumes flat in February

Retail sales volumes were flat in February, following an increase of 3.6% in January. Sales values declined slightly by 0.1% in the month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

When looking more broadly, retail volumes fell by 1% in the three months to February 2024 compared to the same period last year.

Retail sales in February remained 1.3% below their pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Food stores sales volumes fell by 0.3% in February, while non-food sales rose by 0.7%. According to ONS figures, this rise was mainly driven by an increase within clothing stores, which rose 1.7% in the month.

Retailers reported that new collections and promotions contributed to this rise.

Source: Office for National Statistics

‘Ecommerce everywhere’ most important media trend for consumer goods marketers

Consumer packaged goods marketers rank ‘ecommerce everywhere’ as the most critical consumer technology and media trend, with almost three in five ranking it as among the most important.

‘Connected TV and streaming’ and ‘generative AI’ come closely behind, with 56% and 55% respectively naming it as important.

The report also looks at how consumer goods marketers are currently using generative AI in their work. Data analysis is the most common use case, with over two in five (41%) deploying it for this use. Market research (29%) is also a popular use case, as is copywriting (25%).

The research also suggests that a creativity/media gap persists in consumer goods marketing, with 94% of respondents saying their media and creative are not fully synchronised.

Source: Mediaocean

Investment community believes brand strategy affects company value

Over three-quarters (76%) of investment analysts and journalists say brand strategy has a moderate to large impact on changes to a company’s price to earnings ratio.

The price to earnings ratio represents the ratio of a company’s share price to the company’s earnings per share. It is often used to value companies.

Brand strategy ranks as the second most important consideration (19.8%) for investment analysts and journalists when evaluating a company’s prospects, after financial forecasting at 29.1%.

Brand was ranked as more impactful than competitive threats (18.6%), macroeconomic factors (17.9%), and senior management reputation (14.7%).

While brand strategy is valued by the investment community, it is not well understood, the research suggests. The vast majority (90%) of investment analysts say they do not have a deep understanding of the positioning and strategy of the companies in their portfolio.

Source: Interbrand

Rate of inflation falls to lowest in two and a half years

The rate of inflation fell to its lowest in two and a half years in February. The Office for National Statistics’ Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 3.4% in the 12 months to February 2024, down from 4.0% in January.

This annual rate is the lowest recorded since September 2021, when it was 3.1%.

Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 5.0% in the year to February 2024, down from 7.0% in January. The February figure is the lowest annual rate since January 2022.

The inflation rate for restaurants and hotels for February represents the lowest in two years. The annual inflation rate was 6.0% in February 2024, down from 7.1% in January.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Consumer confidence remains lacklustre but some signs of encouragement

Consumer confidence stalled during March, but there are some signs of cautious optimism.

The overall index score, as measured by the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer, puts it at -21, the same figure as February. It remains two points lower than in January 2024, but higher than the -36 recorded in March last year.

The data for March was collected from consumers prior to news of inflation falling, but Joe Staton, GfK’s client strategy director, says it has captured that “slowly growing sense of optimism” in the read-out for personal finances over the coming 12 months, which stands at 2. This is the first time the score has been positive for two years.

Consumers are also more positive in their views of their personal situation over the last 12 months, with the score increasing one point to -13.

Confidence in the general economic situation over the next 12 months has also risen slightly, up one point to -23.

People’s views of the general economic situation over the last 12 months has fallen by two points though to -45.

Source: GfK