Three factors will drive permanent change across wholesale, according to the TWC Trends Spring 2021 report. These are the increasingly hyper connected world; the increasingly polarised economy; and Millenials and Gen Z becoming workers, earners, activists and spenders.

“Our TWC Trends consumer research indicates that the wholesale sector has a pivotal role to play in educating retailers of emerging trends impacting this channel, from hybrid stores to healthier eating, to ensure that convenience retail is fit for the future,” said TWC’s development director Tom Fender.

“Wholesale has a poor track record for leaping on to emerging trends, but to ensure that independent hospitality and retail can keep pace it is essential that wholesalers lead the way on communicating these trends and offer ranges to support these consumer needs.”

In the report, TWC has segmented shifting trends into five themes that wholesalers should consider focusing on, and gives clear indicators of what the future holds. The five themes are:

Online Explosion
The digitalisation and delivery of food and drink and the impact on convenience and foodservice.

Experiential Hospitality & ‘Retailtainment’
Re-thinking the role of bricks and mortar as customers seek personalised, engaging experiences out of home.

Do Good Feel Good
Working for a better world. Social impact and wellbeing influence consumer choices.

Data & Personalisation
Data is the new oil – one size does not fit all.

Save v Splurge
Balancing value as well as premiumisation to meet divergent customer needs.

TWC believes that the new habits consumers have learned around shopping online are now engrained. Online operators have got more efficient, and the experience has improved significantly over the last 12 months. Unemotional purchases, simple product choices and regularly purchased items are more likely to be purchased online from now on than prior to the pandemic.

Furthermore, TWC Trends data showed that Amazon could be the fifth largest supermarket in the UK if current shoppers swapped just one grocery shop per month.

Fender explained: “At the start of lockdown, online account for 7% of total UK food purchases. It is now 16%. Amazon’s share of UK online is 3%, Ocado 14% and Tesco 30%. If those 61% that regularly shop with Amazon did one big grocery shop per month at, say £40, its market share would be 7% (which is bigger than Co-Op).

“Here at TWC, we believe that although Amazon is discussed a lot as a threat to our channel, the fact that 72% of the population have an account really emphasises that threat. But it is now a double threat with the launch of Amazon Fresh and a triple threat with its investment in Deliveroo.

“Its online platform may not impress Gen Z but its food to go and delivery solutions are sure to be winning hearts and minds in this consumer cohort.”

A further report will be published in October as part of the TWC Trends twice-yearly tracker study.

Tel: TWC (01908) 920602

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