UK supermarket spend stabilises
Supermarket spend per visit dropped to £18.50 in February, down from £21.10 this time last year, and close to the £17.20 spent per shop on average in 2020 as shopping behaviour normalises post-pandemic.
Brits spent £9.7bn at grocers over the past four weeks, down 4.2% versus last year, but up 4.4% compared to pre-Covid levels two years ago, which indicates a new baseline for sales growth, according to the latest data from NielsenIQ.
This suggests grocery sales at UK supermarkets are stabilising, with total till sales falling 3.4% over the four weeks ending 26 February, similar to January when sales fell 2.9%.
Meanwhile, the online share of all FMCG sales fell from 13.1% in January to 12.5% in February, with sales down 20% compared to the same period last year. At the same time, visits to stores increased by 12%.
Looking at specific brands, Marks & Spencer was the fastest growing retailer over the last 12 weeks as shoppers returned to retail parks, the high street and travel outlets. Its sales increased by up 12.2% over the period, boosting its market share to 3.6%, the highest since it has been since Q4 2017.
Lidl (8.6%) and Aldi (6.1%) also both grew after attracting new shoppers due to new store openings. One in three households shopped at Lidl over the past four weeks, while nearly 40% visited Aldi.
More than half of Brits likely to stop buying brands that trade in Russia
Nearly three fifths of UK consumers are less likely to buy from a brand that continues to do business with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, according to research from YouGov.
The study finds 41% of consumers would boycott, or have already boycotted, brands that still do business in Russia, 68% say it is important for brands to take a public stance on the conflict, and 51% are more likely to buy from a brand that stops doing business with Russia.
Overall, 56% of Britons say they are less likely to buy from a brand that continues doing business in Russia, though that figure rises among older consumers with 65% of those aged 50 to 64 and 67% of those aged over 65 ready to cut out companies which don’t pull out of Russia. Among those aged 18 to 24 only a third (33%) say they are less likely to buy from brands that do business in Russia.
Initiatives such as donating a portion of income to humanitarian projects in Ukraine also land well with UK consumers, with 51% saying they would be more likely to buy from a company taking such a position. Meanwhile 26% say it would make no difference, 14% weren’t sure and 5% would be less likely to buy.
The list of companies which are closing down operations in Russia is growing by the day. Tobacco companies Imperial Brands and Philip Morris, retailer Mothercare and confectionery group Nestle have recently joined companies such as BP, Shell, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Apple in pulling out of the Russian market.
NFT market grew 21,350% in 2021
The market for NFTs grew by 21,350% in 2021, with total NFT sales hitting $17.6bn (£13.5bn) last year, up from $82m (£63m) in 2020.
In line with this, the number of wallets holding or trading NFTs hit 2.5 million last year, up from just 89,000 in 2020. Meanwhile, the number of buyers rose from 75,000 to 2.3 million.
More than $5.4bn (£4.2bn) of total profit was generated from buying or reselling NFTs, with 473 wallets generating over $1m in profits during 2021.
The most popular category for NFTs was collectibles, which generated $8.4bn (£6.5bn) in sales.
Source: L’Atelier BNP Paribas/NonFungible.com
Cybersecurity top challenge preventing CX excellence
Delivering outstanding customer experience is a top priority for brands, with 88% suggesting it is an important goal, and 38% expecting to achieve top line revenue growth as a result.
But 90% of organisations say they are facing a number of challenges preventing them from delivering the CX they would like. The two most common problems are cybersecurity (49%) and data integration (42%).
From a customer point of view, more than a quarter (28%) are frustrated by long waits or response times, while 27% are irritated by issues not being resolved. As a result, 63% of companies say they are attempting to improve customer communication and make digital choices easier in order to retain customers and drive loyalty.
Businesses are increasingly using AI and automation to help improve the experience, with 29% already using chatbots and virtual assistants. The vast majority (93%) say they are using or plan to use AI.
Nearly half of organisations plan to improve their mobile experience this year too.
Three in four brands have reduced or cut Russian ad spend
Of 31 global brand owners representing $43bn in global ad spend, three in four have reallocated, reduced or cut advertising investment in Russia since the invasion of the Ukraine, according to a poll conducted among members of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).
The WFA is now calling on all advertisers to “carefully review and reconsider” their current media and marketing investments in the country.
In particular, the organisation suggests brands reconsider spend with media outlets that are close to or effectively part of the Russian administration. RT, for example, is a Russian television network funded and controlled by the state.
“In light of the horrifying events in Ukraine, the global marketing industry must speak out,” says WFA CEO Stephan Loerke.
“Every company will have to make its own decision but our recommendation is that media investment and marketing in Russia should end for now.”
The WFA says it will continue to work with members and partners in the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to ensure advertising investment does not support or monetise misinformation at this time.
FMCG giants P&G and Unilever have already said they will halt all media and advertising spend in Russia across their portfolios of brands.
Earlier this week Unilever released a statement condemning the war in Ukraine as a “brutal and senseless act by the Russian state”.