EXPORT RECOVERY SERIES | VOICE FROM THE MARKET | NORTH AMERICA
From our ERP5 webinar, panelists from North America provided significant insights, targets and optimism for New Zealand exporters:
The US is open for business – it’s just not the same business that it used to be open for. There is a boom in F&B products, but if channels in the US market were difficult to navigate yesterday, today you need a whole new map.
Over the past 12 months New Zealand companies have been pivoting from China to US, with seemingly better value drivers in the US, and the same language, seen as being beneficial for long and short term prospects.
The size of the US food & beverage market is over US$1 trillion dollars annually, with the historical split being 50% consumed in the home, and 50% outside of the home – that has now flipped to approximately 80% in home. Grocery, click & collect, delivery are booming with ‘demand off the charts’. The struggle is keeping up with this demand, and in this environment new products have the ability of being tried by the consumer as stock on the shelf gets thinner – the challenge is access to the shelf.
With little coordinated Federal government response to rely on, States are going it alone. What is consistent across the US though is a massive sales surge in e-commerce. This presents an ideal entry point to this market – pick a region, pick a market, pick an online channel best aligned to that market, and pilot your products there – that will ‘keep you plenty busy’.
Where New Zealand food and beverage exporters to the US have pivoted from food service to multiple retail channels – bricks and mortar, B2B and online – they are doing very well. Companies are realising that online may have been ‘nice to have’, now it’s a ‘must to have.’
Online isn’t as simple as your own e-commerce store. An omni-channel approach is required across platforms like Amazon, direct, and in understanding and utilising digital platform business tools in Facebook, Google and others.
The new consumer trends will last for a while – ‘baking has replaced baseball as America’s favourite past-time’.
When in-market, you will need logistics/3PL support there to hold the right levels of inventory. It’s a long way away and there are delays getting product into channels.
The pause currently presents New Zealand exporters, to the US and elsewhere, with an opportunity to think differently about what they do for their customers, and as importantly, how they connect and communicate with them.