The global FMCG market retreated to a more normal state in 2021 after a record 2020 in which it experienced double-digit (+10.6%) growth. The latest annual figures from Kantar (in association with GfK and Intage) indicate that the global FMCG market grew by 2.1% year-over-year in 2021, in line with the range set in pre-pandemic days from 2015 through 2019.
FMCG market growth was fastest in Latin America, where it rose by 9.2%. By comparison, growth was a more modest 2.7% in the US, while the market value declined slightly in Western Europe (-0.2%).
Drilling down into FMCG categories, the largest growth was for Beverages (2.9%) and Food (2.5%), with Dairy (2.0%), Home Care (1.1%) and Health & Beauty (0.7%) trailing.
Once again, e-commerce was the fastest-growing channel in 2021. After a bumper 2020 in which e-commerce FMCG value expanded by 45.9%, last year saw e-commerce’s gain at a smaller but still leading 15.8%. By comparison, the next-fastest growing channel in FMCG was Cash & Carry, which rose by a more muted 4.4%.
As a result, e-commerce in 2021 accounted for 7.2% of global FMCG value, up from 6.3% in 2020 and 4.8% in 2019. Asia is clearly leading this charge, with e-commerce worth 15.3% of its take-home FMCG market. Western Europe is next (6.9%), followed by the US (4.8%), Eastern Europe (3.2%) and Latin America (0.9%). In fact, Asia accounts for almost half (45%) of all online FMCG sales, per the report.
Meanwhile, e-commerce’s growth is due to a pair of factors: greater penetration; and increased frequency. Last year market penetration reached almost 40% (39.8%), solidifying the gains made in 2020 (37%) from 2019 (31.6%). But it was e-commerce frequency that accounted for the majority (70%) of e-commerce growth, as purchase frequency jumped from 8.7 in 2020 to 10.4 in 2021.
Looking forward, Kantar expects e-commerce’s share of the FMCG market to continue to grow in the coming years to reach 9.2% in 2025.