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The Role of Big Data in the FMCG Sector

July 3, 2024
Lukas Vanterpool

More than just a buzzword, big data is big news.  

We have made no secret of the fact that the FMCG industry still behaves in an outdated and lagging way in some respects.  

The FMCG industry has access to a wide variety of data, but are they taking a focussed approach to gathering and analysing this data and using it to build actionable insights that can drive real value and improve ROI? 

Harnessing the power of big data can propel FMCG brands into becoming more agile, responsive, making more informed decisions. 



The FMCG sector has experienced much change in the last 5 years, political and economic uncertainty has in fact made way for smaller, independent and UK-based brands to make their way to market, while we have also seen increase in the use of digital channels. 

The rise of e-commerce has caused large, stagnant corporations’ difficulty, as they are often slow to respond to the hyper-connected retail world. Smaller brands are more flexible in their approach, and  are e-commerce native, often having begun their journey by selling in small quantities online.  

As an increased share of the customers time and spend takes place on digital platforms, companies can evolve a one-dimensional online presence into one that continues to understand consumer trends and behaviour and improve sales.  


Improved Supply Chain 

Without a solid supply chain, the FMCG industry would crumble. It is critical that the journey of manufacturer, to packaging, to retail runs seamlessly, otherwise your reputation, brand image, and ultimately profits, are set to take a hit.  

Previous research has found that items that are ‘out of stock’ for more than 10% of the time can shave 4% off of annual profits. 

Further Reading:


Brands can use big data to drive their decision making, rather than use gut instinct or speculation. Analytics and algorithms can be used across various aspects of the supply chain network to yield results. 

For instance, when it comes to logistics and delivery networks, data derived from geo-analytics can be amalgamated to create more efficient and streamlined services. This means that wait times can be reduced, an issue that is known to be a concern across the industry.  


Warehouse operations 

Advances in analytics and the gathering of data is leading to warehouses becoming ‘smart’ and being managed more efficiently. Processes and facilities such as stock inventory, materials handling and mismatched deliveries can be carried out and monitored in real time, as can the performance of machinery and equipment.  

Performance data for machinery and equipment means that companies that track impact history, service needs and labour requirements.  

Ultimately big data enables supply chain and warehouses to improve their safety, inventory accuracy and operate at an optimum level, with decreased downtime. 

Further Reading:

A report by Accenture stated that the use of big data in operations and warehouses lead to a 10% increase in supply chain efficiency, while McKinsey reported that their research found that FMCG brands using big data outperformed competitors by 6%. 


Products and price points 

Its clear to see the correlation between big data and understanding the consumer, and big brands are using insights from predictive analytics, intelligence software and data mining to develop new product ranges.  

These insights include customer behaviour and preferences. By actively analysing consumer interactions, companies can align their product offerings with the interests, needs and values of customers. 

By cross referencing this data with the identification of market price points and customer segments, new data-driven pricing strategies can be created, and changes can be made to supply chain elements to make products more cost efficient. 

Household name Proctor and Gamble are renowned for using big data to create actionable insights to revolutionise the way they bring products to market, click here to find out how.  


Consumer personalisation 

Big data can of course drive FMCG brands to customise and personalise their marketing campaigns and messages. Its no secret that targeted strategies lead to increased market share.  

By using intelligence tools and platforms like artificial intelligence, e commerce and digital channels alongside consumer data, businesses can deliver cross-platform consumer experiences that drive conversions and improve brand loyalty. 


Product supply and resources  

Big data can provide insights that help FMCG brands understand the volatility of the resource market and how critical resources can be used more efficiently. 

There is much focus on ethical and environmentally sustainable products from food and FMCG brands, and big data will enable brands to accurately communicate their sustainability message to consumers. 

In an industry where data has the ability to directly impact productivity and profitably, it seems that ignoring the opportunity that big data presents would be nothing short of a bad business decision. We look forward to seeing the adoption of big data in the FMCG industry and the innovation and growth it brings with it. 

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About The Author

Lukas Vanterpool

I started The Sterling Choice with Gareth Whyatt back in August 2013. We’ve always remained true to ourselves and what it is we’re trying to achieve – A great company with great people and great results! This journey never stops, we are always finding ways to support our colleagues and make sure they leave every day feeling fulfilled.

Over the years I’ve always been asked “what’s your USP??, what makes you different from all the other agencies??”. That’s an easy one for me to answer – “Our culture makes our business and our people make our culture”

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