François Faelli: How Brands Can Prepare for European Retailing's Tectonic Shifts

Shopper habits in Europe are changing faster than ever, placing increased strain on traditional retailers and consumer product companies alike. François Faelli, the leader of Bain’s Consumer Products practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, discusses how brands can adapt to the rapidly shifting retail industry.

Read the Bain Brief: How Brands Can Prepare for European Retailing's Tectonic Shifts

Read the transcript below.

FRANÇOIS FAELLI: Consumers take time to change their habits—what you eat, what you drink. It takes time for you to change that. That's not the same with shoppers. Shopper habits are changing faster than ever in Europe. And actually, it's built on three trends that are fundamentally impacting the retail industry.

The first one is the rise of e-commerce. We all know more people shop online.

The second one is the trend [that] started way back: shoppers now prefer what we used to call discounters, but which are now everyday value players—easier shopping, more convenience shopping, cheaper shopping around less SKUs.

And the third one is, as a consequence almost, that traditional retail formats, which are supermarkets and hypermarkets, are really struggling.

Those three trends are nothing new to any executive active in Europe. But what we spent time doing is we quantified, [from the] bottom-up, in all the big markets in Europe, the impact those shifts will have on the retail profit pool. And we came up with quite shocking news: that in the next 10 years, at a maximum, 40% of the retail profit pool will actually disappear. And it will be a challenge for the retailers. But it will put increased pressure on the consumer products companies in Europe.

And so if you were a consumer products company active in Europe today, we would do at least two things quite urgently. The first one is, do their own math. Do your own math. We calculated averages. You look at your own category mix, your own retailer mix and your own country mix. Look at how much is at stake for your retailer landscape and how much is at stake for you.

And the second thing is, regardless, you probably need to become much faster, much more adaptive, and much leaner than you were in the past.

Read the Bain Brief: How Brands Can Prepare for European Retailing's Tectonic Shifts