THE recovery of the country's fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market is expected to be slower compared to that of other countries, a report released by data, insights and consulting company Kantar said.

Kantar said that while the FMCG market of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Mainland China, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico grew by 0.8 percent in January to September 2021, the Philippine FMCG market contracted by 4 percent.

"Our data reveal that major markets around the world are slowly showing signs of pre-pandemic times. While restrictions are being lifted in many countries, including the Philippines, FMCG companies, including our small and medium enterprises, must pay attention to behaviors that consumers have developed since the pandemic and capitalize on these in order to sustain the momentum," said Lourdes Deocareza-Lozano, Kantar Philippines Worldpanel Division New Business director.

According to Kantar's report, food categories under breakfast and lunch, including beverages, benefited the most from the shift to a work-from-home arrangement in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, China, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico.

Beverages grew by 2.5 percent, dairy by 1.8 percent, and coffee, ready-to-drink tea, juices and carbonated soft drinks also saw steady growth across the seven major markets.

Kantar, however, said the trend was not observed in the Philippines as beverages only grew by 1 percent while dairy contracted by 11 percent.

It noted that breakfast categories like coffee, coffee creamer, cereal and oatmeal declined in the last two years.

"Filipinos instead turned to easier or more convenient ways of cooking via bouillons, instant noodles, cooking oil, seasonings and sauces. Healthier beverages, such as cultured milk, family and adult milk, and energy drinks, also showed stable growth locally," the report said.

Kantar's report, however, revealed that consumers in all eight countries continued to rely on e-commerce during the pandemic.

From 8.8 percent in September 2019, e-commerce grew by 13.4 percent in September 2021.

"During the height of quarantine restrictions, the Philippines shared the same upward trend for e-commerce activity as the other countries. From September 2019 to September 2021, the total online FMCG penetration increased from 5 percent to 7.2 percent," said Kantar.

While 1.8 million Filipino homes purchased in-home FMCG items online at least once in 2021, Kantar, however, pointed out that e-commerce remains a small portion in the overall growth of the local FMCG industry.

"E-commerce is here but there's still room to increase its share of the FMCG market in the country. Companies that are able to optimize traditional, modern and online space to retain customers and attract new ones can help drive the sector's growth back to pre-pandemic numbers," said Deocareza-Lozano.