This episode is part of a series we have recently started, that explores how hybrid working has impacted several industries in Western Europe. This is the second episode in the series. We will focus on how retailers in the food and nutrition space are responding to this recent change in working patterns, in terms of retailing, product assortment and distribution.
Consumers are approaching a return to pre-pandemic life in different ways based on their comfort levels. Certain consumers are eager, whilst others are hesitant, to resume their normal activities, creating The Socialisation Paradox. This impacts a range of industries, from travel, food service, alcoholic drinks and home. Some consumers will continue to invest in making their home a sanctuary, while others will seek hedonistic endeavors. For some, foreign travel is an exciting prospect, while anxiety of others continues to buoy domestic tourism.
The global economy faces new headwinds following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, while the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. The war in Ukraine and its resulting sanctions imposed on Russia are projected to cause accelerated energy and commodity prices, further disruptions in global supply chains and reduced business and consumer confidence.
The apparel and footwear industry was among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but just as recovery was taking place faster than expected, the industry is now facing more turbulences around the fast-moving uncertainty in Ukraine, galloping inflation rates, which mean rising production costs, further supply chain woes, not to mention weakened consumer spending.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought major disruptions in the global education system, emphasising the need to strengthen education system through technologies and teacher upskilling to ensure equitable access to quality education. Furthermore, the pandemic has caused an unprecedented labour market crisis and accelerated workplace automation, incentivising further investment in skills development and lifelong learning. Human capital accumulation is a key to building resilience to future crises and promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth in the long term.
Travel and tourism was poised for an upturn in 2022, as it hoped to put the pandemic behind it. However, new threats have recently emerged that will delay the much-needed recovery.
2021 saw more moderate growth in dairy products and alternatives, after the spike seen in 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooking ingredients, such as butter, cheese and cream, were the most dynamic categories, along with products with an immune-boosting positioning, such as yoghurt and sour milk. Products associated with health, such as dairy alternatives and allergy-friendly milk formula, continue to rise, as consumers maintain the health consciousness propelled by the pandemic.
Consumer appliances in Southeast Asia has tremendous growth potential. As Southeast Asia's economy grows rapidly, urbanisation and higher disposable incomes will help stimulate sales in appliances. With manufacturers actively driving initiatives while providing “affordable premium” products, the future is bright for the industry.