An industry study carried out by TWC has identified three factors that could “threaten the very role of wholesale” in the future.

The TWC Trends Spring 2021 Report found shifts in consumer behaviours could gradually have a big impact on the sector if actions aren’t put in place.

The good news is that these changes are happening gradually, so there’s enough time for the wholesale channel to adapt.

“The three driving market forces which are set to have a major influence are our increasingly hyper-connected world; the increasingly polarised economy; and millennials and Gen Z becoming workers and earners, activists and spenders,” TWC Development Director Tom Fender.

“We believe that shifts are happening so gradually that they are almost imperceptible but that, over time, they could threaten the very role of wholesale, its customers and suppliers.

“And, our TWC Trends’ consumer research indicates 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 convenience retail is fit for the future.

“Wholesale has a poor track record for leaping onto 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.”

As part of the research – the first of a new twice-yearly trends study – TWC has identified five key area wholesalers should consider focusing on in order to be prepared for the changing market. They are:

  1. Online Explosion
    The Digitalisation and Delivery of Food and Drink and the impact on Convenience and Foodservice
  2. Experiential Hospitality & ‘Retailtainment’
    Re-thinking the role of bricks and mortar as customers seek personalised, engaging experiences out of home.
  3. Do Good Feel Good.
    Working for a Better World. Social Impact and wellbeing influences consumer choices.
  4. Data & Personalisation.
    Data is the new oil – one size does not fit all.
  5. Save v Splurge
    Balancing value as well as premiumisation to meet divergent customer needs.

While the growth of online shopping and habits accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic are here to stay, TWC says there are indications of the long-term results of this too.

“This report deliberately focusses on the long-term impacts on consumer behaviour,” added Fender.

“We believe the immediate aftershocks of Covid-19 have been copiously covered and the industry has a firm grasp of the likely sales patterns for 2021.

“Meanwhile, there is a paucity of analysis of the seismic shifts that are taking place beneath the surface that will fundamentally and irrevocably change our sector.”

To purchase the full TWC Trends report or if you would like TWC to present its findings at your business board/team meetings, please email Sandy MacEwen

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