The Top 3 Insights for European CPG Brands

Trends / Sustainability
PM Images
Davina Ajana
Feb 3, 2023
At Getty Images, we understand how visuals can have a lasting impact on consumer decision‑making. People are shifting their purchasing behaviour within the consumer goods industry. This is most notably driven by the impact of the cost of living crisis, rising inflation and climate change concerns.

Our VisualGPS research explores how Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), or Fast‑Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands can use visuals to make their brand service and value proposition stand out, and how consumer priorities can help shape visual strategy to drive deeper engagement.

Here are three key insights on European consumer sentiment and how you can leverage them to empower your visual choices in 2023.

From climate change to eco‑friendly
Consumers are environmentally conscious, and they are adjusting their spending accordingly. Getty Images’ VisualGPS consumer survey reveals that climate change is the number one concern, followed by the increased cost of goods and services.  This is certainly reflected in Getty Images’ customers’ visual searches, as “climate change” has increased by +297% while searches for “inflation” also increased by +296% year on year.

Interestingly, climate change visuals popular with European CPG customers have evolved over the last decade. Six years ago, visuals of polar bears and penguins predominated, indicating that climate change storytelling was focused most on the impact on wildlife, shrinking sea ice, and agricultural damage and losses. Today, visuals showing extreme weather events, heatwaves, drought, and devastating flooding are more popular, reflecting recent unprecedented climate changes across the continent.  

6 in 10 Europeans say they only buy from companies that try to be eco‑friendly, while half of Europeans say they reuse, repair, or purchase items second‑hand instead of buying new products. There are a handful of emerging business owners, including Save your Wardrobe, that hope to make consumers more aware of their after‑purchase behaviours. What's traditionally been a very direct‑to‑consumer service is now incentivising brands to build long‑term wear into their business models. 1

When choosing visuals, consider scenarios that visualise the upcycled afterlife of products, shopping second‑hand, sustainable packaging, and local manufacturing, to show how products and services can simplify a consumer’s sustainable journey. 
Brick and click: The future of omnichannel shopping   
Seamless omnichannel is on the rise. Brands can expect to see a mix of in‑store and online shopping, with consumers taking full advantage of all the omnichannel options at their disposal. As in‑store shopping resumes after the rise of pandemic‑era e‑commerce,
there is an opportunity for CPG brands to depict moments of in‑store discovery as well as online shopping. According to our research, half of Europeans discover new products in‑store while 6 in 10 use technology to enhance or improve their ability to do business with brands. Yet unified experience across multiple channels can cause some dynamic tension.

Getty Images' VisualGPS research found that with new digital innovations on the rise, 5 in 10 consumers worry that personalised tech will compromise their privacy. Consequently, they want more control over their own data. For brands taking a brick‑and‑click omnichannel approach, consider visuals that focus on showing accessibility and digital trust, whether that means showing in‑person interactions between employees and customers or secure online shopping experiences.
The importance of diverse and inclusive visuals
Our research reveals that consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that show authentic and inclusive depictions of people. The top visual preferences for CPG consumers include seeing people 'who look like me and my everyday life.'  However, despite challenger CPG brands like Fenty and well established brands such as Dove with a legacy of focus on inclusive beauty, only 2 in 10 Europeans think that brands show a lot of diversity in their advertising and business visual communications.

It has never been so important to build an inclusive narrative. With the world constantly changing, visual content must be in line with new realities. So how do you connect with today's CPG consumers in an authentic and relevant way?

Getty Images and Citi have partnered to create Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Imagery toolkits to provide actionable insights to create authentic and multi‑faceted depictions of people in marketing and communications. Understanding and breaking with limiting visual stereotypes drives deeper brand engagement.
[1] Business Cloud
[2] McKinsey 
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