Nielsen Reveals Consumer Goods Categories Among Those Most Immune, Most Vulnerable to Recession

As the economic downturn forces consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers to re-evaluate their consumer marketing strategies, The Nielsen Company yesterday revealed that categories including seafood, dry pasta, and candy are among those most immune to a recession. The analysis was presented at Nielsen's Consumer 360 Conference, the CPG industry's premier educational and networking event, attended by more than 1,000 industry professionals. The conference was held in Phoenix.

According to Nielsen's analysis of macroeconomic variables, historical trends, and consumer behavior, products such as seafood, dry pasta, and candy are most immune to a recession. Beer and pasta sauces also show some level of immunity to recessionary times. Those products among the most vulnerable or recession-prone include carbonated beverages, eggs, cups/plates, food prep/storage items, and tobacco.

To come up with this analysis, Nielsen compared actual category behavior during prior recessions with expected behavior. Other factors that drive category performance are considered in custom analytics projects and deliverables.

''Consumers are feeling the squeeze as they are caught between rising costs and lower spending power,'' said Eugene Roytburg, managing director, Nielsen. ''As a result, many consumers are reprioritizing or altogether changing their spending habits. For CPG manufacturers and retailers, this requires a change in the way you market to consumers, and knowing which of your products are most affected by a recession will help you maintain focus on the right categories and brands in order to succeed.''

Nielsen also noted that it has developed a new Predictive Macroeconomic Impact System (PMIS) to assist CPG manufacturers and retailers in understanding how certain categories perform during recessionary times. PMIS analyzes the macroeconomic variables that tend to change during recessionary times, including the U.S. median housing price, S&P commodity Trends Indicator, Consumer Confidence Index, Consumer Price Index, and stock performance. Nielsen then identifies those variables having the greatest impact on consumer attitudes and behaviors -- unemployment, inflation, consumer confidence, gas prices, housing prices, and disposable personal income -- defining the extent to which these factors influence consumer motivation and decision-making.
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