Largo Consumo, how spending has changed in the last three years

MICHELE CAPRINI
28/08/2018
In brief
According to the data processed by IRI, in the 2015-2018 three-year period, Italian consumer spending grew modestly. Aside from the quantities, however, it was the diversity in purchasing behaviour that appears to be even more significant.
Big brands are down in favour of small- to medium-sized companies and private labels.

In Italy, based on the figures from the 2015-2018 three-year period, the spending habits of Italians when it comes to consumer products has developed too slowly. According to IRI research, on average about 1.5 points per year is on the distribution sectors considered (Hypermarkets Supermarkets and Specialised Modern Distribution).

There is a progressive change in the composition of expenditure (new consumption trends oriented towards health, organic goods and sustainability) but also in the scale of popularity of the brands.

Brand orientation

The best-known brands or those linked to larger companies are losing ground compared to smaller brands and private label companies. This migration is estimated to be around 200 million euro per year for daily consumer goods.

Companies classified as having a turnover of more than 300 million euro have recorded a downturn in revenue of about 3.5% in the last three years. For three-quarters of the largest commercial organisations, the decline in turnover is 12.1% on retail prices. This amount is equal to around 590 million euro.

In the same period, small- and medium-sized companies and Distributor brands subtracted almost 2.5 points in market share from the major competitors (around 300 million in turnover). The overall revenues for the small/medium segment increased by 2.4 billion euro, whilst those attributable to retailer brands was 746 million.

These two components determine the growth, albeit modest, of spending on consumer products as a whole.

Promotional leverage

Promotional leverage has been used in differing ways by distribution entities. In the three years analysed, large industrial groups maintained and even slightly increased this (just over one percentage point). Yet this was not rewarded in volume.

Private label products have gone in the opposite direction, decreasing promotional pressure but have nevertheless been rewarded by consumers. In terms of value, the decrease was 1.3% for companies classified as having a turnover of less than 300 million and even 4.2% for private label offerings.

The data analysed by IRI confirms a substantial trend in consumer purchasing behaviour. These can be summarised in terms of spending in lower volumes and divided amongst several outlets, thanks to the greater availability of information generated by the diffusion of online and mobile tools.

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