- Market research firms Nielsen and NPD have launched an omnichannel consumer panel that measures shopping data across online and in-store channels, as well as product categories, according to a news release.
- The companies state that the new panel combines Nielsen's strength in measuring CPG sales with NPD's general merchandise shopping data and measurement tools.
- In addition to cross-channel and cross-category visibility, the panel will also look at smaller shopping trips and "increase data granularity" through the measurement assets of both firms.
Consumers are increasingly balancing online and in-store shopping to fill their grocery needs. As sales channels blur and consumer preferences rapidly evolve, suppliers and grocers want to know how their brands measure up.
According to the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen, online shopping is projected to become a $100 billion business over the next three to four years — and that's probably a conservative estimate, FMI's chief collaboration officer Mark Baum said during the association's recent Midwinter Executive Conference. As if that shift in behavior weren't enough, consumers are also shopping across more retail outlets, embracing new categories and turning away from legacy ones.
It's increasingly difficult for companies to set their strategy before another shift occurs. Fresh foods, which retailers have poured money into recently, are seeing slowing growth, according to new IRI data, while frozen foods, which were written off not so long ago, are surging.
These evolving shopper habits lend value to research firms like Nielsen and NPD, but it also pressures them to adjust their offerings and boost sales among clients, many of which have tightened their belts financially. In October, Nielsen announced it had partnered with Rakuten Intelligence to broaden its omnichannel market data.
Nielsen has made other investments in its panel capabilities, including projection methodologies, mobile collection and segment representation, according to the company.
Nielsen's most recent quarterly results revealed a 2.5% drop in revenue and a 34% drop in net income per share. Last year, activist investor Elliot Management took an 8.4% stake in Nielsen, pressuring it to explore a sale of the entire company, or at least its struggling "buy" business, which includes consumer and market research capabilities
Just as retailers are turning to creative partnerships, so are the research firms that they rely on. Nielsen, NPD and other companies that track the evolving landscape are hoping to remain valuable to companies as the changing retail landscape they measure continues to pressure their business.