As most of Europe still feels the fiscal repercussion’s from the debt crisis, some companies are leveraging this to target the fiscally conservative consumer. Consumer spending power has declined which means companies are pressed to find ways to squeeze every penny out of the consumer. Many companies are changing the packaging of products to accomplish this.
In Spain, where a default on its debt is very possible, many consumers have started buying in smaller quantities. Gone are the days of buying for a week at a time. Now, consumers are buying one yogurt at a time instead of in packs. Head of European operations at Unilever, Jan Zijderveld, said that his company had begun selling laundry soap only good for five loads. Compare this to America where we buy it for hundreds of loads, or at Costco where you can buy it in industrial sizes!
Businesses abroad are attacking this changing consumer from both ends to see which packaging method works best in each different economy. Sometimes, the large quantity at discounted prices works. But recently, the small quantities have been utilized. In North Africa, Asia or South Africa, many products are sold by the unit because consumer buying power has been historically low and this is what consumers have grown accustomed to. In Africa, consumers run their errands every day, unlike the United States and parts of Europe that shop once a week.
The economy is changing abroad and if companies do not innovate and embrace change, the company won’t survive. Make sure you know what market you’re entering and how to tailor your product to fit that cultural customer. Don’t put industrial sized products at the local market in Southern Africa; that would be business suicide.