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Weekly Roundup - State of the Consumer, Renault’s Fully Automated Facility and Uniqlo’s High-Tech Checkouts

Yulia Fedorova

17 Jun 2024

The landscape of consumer behavior is undergoing significant changes. According to McKinsey ConsumerWise research, there are now nine trends shaping the global consumer sector. Middle-income consumers, despite concerns about inflation, are indulging in splurges, and aging consumers are also spending more rather than adhering to strict budgets. Traditional brand loyalty among older shoppers is diminishing, while young consumers in Asia and the Middle East are more likely to switch to higher-priced brands than those in Western markets. These shifts indicate unpredictable consumer behaviors, challenging consumer goods manufacturers and retailers to stay adaptable. Companies must develop a thorough, up-to-date understanding of consumer demographics, preferences, and shopping behaviors to stay competitive.

Source: McKinsey ConsumerWise Global Sentiment Data, Q1 2024

A survey of over 15,000 consumers across 18 markets, representing 90% of global GDP, has revealed subtle differences in consumer behaviors across various demographic groups, contradictory behaviors that defy traditional expectations, and certain categories poised for growth. Understanding these insights is crucial for businesses aiming to navigate the evolving consumer landscape successfully.

Source: McKinsey ConsumerWise Global Sentiment Data, Q1 2024

Renault Group has launched a fully automated logistics facility in Villeroy in collaboration with Exotec, marking a pioneering move in the automotive sector. The facility employs Exotec’s Skypod robots to streamline operations, significantly reducing human error and expediting parts order preparation by six times. Equipped with 191 Skypod robots, the facility handles various tasks such as picking, inventory, put-away, and compaction, demonstrating a scalable and adaptable logistics solution. The site is also energy-efficient, consuming 30% less energy compared to traditional setups by eliminating conventional handling equipment. It can prepare nearly 4,000 order lines per hour at peak times, with an overall daily processing capacity of up to 40,000 order lines. This initiative aims to increase the number of orders served by 25%, reinforcing Renault's commitment to customer satisfaction and operational innovation. The collaboration underscores Renault's dedication to technological advancement and excellence in supply chain management.

Fast Retailing, Asia’s largest apparel business and the parent company of Uniqlo, aims to achieve ¥10 trillion (US$63.6 billion) in annual sales through the adoption of innovative technologies like barcode-less checkouts and extensive data collection. This strategy, driven by Chief Information Officer Takahiro Tambara, involves integrating radio-frequency chips in price tags to enable swift, single-scan checkouts. Tambara's plan extends beyond the checkout process to every facet of the supply chain, leveraging RFID and other digital tools to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. This technological shift is crucial as Fast Retailing, which also owns brands like GU and Theory, experiences rapid growth in the US and Europe, driven by consumer demand for casual styles and competitive pricing against rivals such as Shein. Tambara emphasizes that the goal is to manage operations with the agility of a single store, even as the company scales up globally, ensuring that customer needs are met promptly and efficiently.

Read more on recent highlights
Dive deep into research

"Enhancing supply chain information sharing with third party logistics service providers" by Valashiya, M.C. and Luke, R. (2023)

"Construction and implementation of cross-border e-commerce supply chain system under the background of green and low-carbon" by He, Y., Wang, Z., Liu, S. and Du, X. (2024)

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Weekly Roundup