Discovering New Products in New Places

Dark chocolate-covered blueberries and freesia-infused home fragrances used to be the types of things people would only discover in-store. But today, these types of items—things people didn’t necessarily know they wanted before they went shopping—are on consumers’ radar before they even enter the store. In fact, 50% of core consumer packaged goods (CPG) consumers report that they learn about new CPG products before going shopping.

As consumers spend more time on digital devices, especially on mobile, digital is becoming a leading source of that discovery at a time when there are arguably more new products than ever. How can brands reach people in this competitive world of media fragmentation?

While exploring mobile-savvy shoppers’ new paths of CPG discovery, we uncovered 3 important, intersecting shifts in the US: generational, cultural and behavioral. And we learned that these shifts are yielding big changes for brands—particularly as brands build momentum and staying power for new CPG products.


To better understand these important shifts, Facebook commissioned Nielsen to conduct a behavioral and attitudinal survey of adults within their Homescan panel in the US to understand purchasing behavior across 20 key CPG categories. Then, using custom fusion methodology, Nielsen was able to link the survey responses to their TV media and digital panels to explore everything from discovery, trial and purchasing of CPG products to media behaviors across TV, desktop and mobile.

Meet the core CPG buyers


What and how they buy

Core CPG shoppers are product switchers who enjoy novelty. Findings suggest that all 3 groups are brand-conscious, but they aren’t creatures of habit.


As savvy online shoppers, they’re using the web to their advantage to be more informed and more in control of their CPG purchases when they shop the aisles from home and in-store.

When it comes to grocery shopping, Millennials and US Hispanics are spending more time than other groups researching products online before buying. Our research shows:


How these savvy shoppers are buying is also changing as they embrace online shopping for daily household items. In the past year, Millennials, US Hispanics and Light TV Viewers bought a range of products online to stock their pantry and fill their medicine cabinets and cosmetic bags. Our research shows that Millennials are driving this trend more than older generations.

Their mobile phone is their constant companion. 77% of Millennials, 72% of US Hispanics and 70% of Light TV Viewers always carry their mobile phone with them.

Mobile is increasingly playing a bigger role when it comes to purchasing CPG products. The interest each group has in using their mobile phones while shopping—beyond comparing prices—signals mobile’s growing role as an in-store partner.

CPG_Summary-06 The newly defined road to discovery

As consumers spend more time on their mobile phones, discovery is happening in the palm of their hands rather than in front of the TV. Digital channels are quickly becoming the source of new news and innovation in CPG. This is especially true for Millennials and Light TV Viewers, who turn to digital before making in-store purchases.


While TV can be an effective awareness driver, increased media fragmentation means that these groups are becoming harder to reach via traditional channels. And here’s another place where these groups intersect: Millennials and US Hispanics are also likely to be Light TV Viewers; among Millennials, 81% are Light TV Viewers, and among US Hispanics, 74%.

Reaching beyond TV

To better understand the impact of consumers’ shifting focus, Nielsen analyzed the daily reach of the top 10 TV networks used by CPG marketers to explore how Facebook can help amplify TV’s reach of these elusive targets.

What it means for marketers

Meet the newly defined CPG consumers on their terms: As increasing numbers of Millennials, US Hispanics and Light TV Viewers become core CPG shoppers and buyers, brands need to adjust to their modern preferences and digital habits. The tactics used to reach Boomers in the past will not resonate with these younger, light-TV-viewing, mobile-savvy shoppers, nor with the generation quickly nipping at their heels.

Take advantage of “new to me”: As Millennials quickly move from college graduates to young professionals and then to spouses and parents, it’s a great opportunity for CPG marketers to take advantage of their swift life-stage transitions and introduce products that are new to them (but perhaps not new to market) at key moments.

Understand the journey of discovery happens in the palm of their hand: Recognize both that the next shiny new thing is being discovered online, increasingly on mobile, and that it’s never been easier to reach consumers where they are spending their time … outside of the sitting-on-my-couch moment.


To learn more about the forces driving US Hispanics’ purchasing power, check out this Nielsen article.


Source: “Path to Purchase” by Nielsen, US only (study of adults commissioned by Facebook), Aug 2015. All references to ethnic identity are based on self-identification in Nielsen’s panel.