Grocery industry players are focused on forecasting sales, optimal product pricing and assortment, and return on their investments in digital commerce, according to a new survey of grocery manufacturers and retailers by SMARTeam, Advantage Sales’ consumer goods insights team.

While product manufacturers and retailers hold significantly differing perspectives on likely sales strength in the second half of the year and where those sales will be made — online or in stores — they are aligned in one area: the transformative nature of digital commerce.

“Outlook June 2021: Grocery Manufacturers and Retailers” reveals:

  • Manufacturers and retailers are far from aligned on dollar sales predictions. Six in 10 manufacturers foresee increases in dollar sales through the second half of 2021, seven in 10 retailers are predicting decreases.
  • Manufacturers predict a much greater percentage of their sales moving online over the next few years than retailers do. While 37% of manufacturers expect their online dollar sales to be over 21% by 2025, only 14% of retailers believe the share of their sales being made online will be that high.
  • The cost of consumer goods will continue to rise. More than three-fourths of manufacturers have taken price increases this year or plan to in the future.
  • Retailers want fewer SKUs. Sixty-five percent of retailers are in the process of reducing SKUs. Manufacturers who are most affected are likely to lean into product innovation or promotions to regain lost distribution.
  • Few retailers have plans to share their digital data this year. Only 20% of retailers make their digital commerce sales data available to manufacturers now or plan to in the near future.
  • Areas of focus in digital commerce are changing. Third-party fulfillers Instacart and Shipt are rising in importance, with 37% of manufacturers putting them in their Top 5 e-commerce priorities.
  • Manufacturers believe there’s great room for improvement in their return on investment in retail platforms. Only 7% of manufacturers believe a retail media network spend is “extremely effective” compared to their traditional spends with retailers.
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