Nowadays the variety of consumer products on offer has exploded, not just from makers of branded goods, but also from the big supermarket chains themselves. The latter now dominate the retail end of the business, and sell their own labels alongside the large name brands.
Over the years, the way companies sell their merchandise has changed dramatically. Radio shows formerly were the promotional medium (the original soap operas), to encourage women, usually housewives, to buy their wares. Currently, radio has been surpassed by television and the internet, to boost sales, as customers become ever more independent and fickle.
In today’s consumer goods industry, size is crucial; this saves expenses in purchasing commodities. Their prices have risen significantly in recent years, thereby pushing up the cost of foodstuffs, packaging chemicals, and a whole range of items that go into the consumer goods industry’s products.
Hitherto, the resultant price increases could be passed on to consumers, but they no longer can do so. Retailers such as Loblaws or Canadian Tire have increased their power by developing their own brands or private labels. According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, retailers’ brands also are expanding to online sales and convenience stores. That recent, comprehensive study went on to state that, "The most sophisticated own-brand producers have begun to ‘out-innovate’ makers of branded goods … by using the insights into consumer behaviour gained through their loyalty programs and research."
By diverse means then, companies have been able to comply rapidly with the wishes of consumers, and they, therefore, could change more quickly than the makers of branded goods.
To cater to consumers, companies spend a great deal of time observing what buyers want to eat, clean, or purchase for other reasons.
Marketing techniques have become more omnipresent, with sensors counting the number of shoppers passing displays, and also send staff to trail after consumers’ shopping carts.
As could be expected, marketers have greatly expanded their advertising budgets, not only in newspapers and magazines, but in all other media as well.
With the application of in-depth analysis, some companies are inventing new products and brands. This is very difficult in the overcrowded retail market, where others are trying to do the same thing. Also, to continue to expand their brands, companies have started to focus more on emerging markets where the scope for growth is greater.
Clearly, the array of marketing techniques reflects consumerism gone wild.