Digital transformation and investment trends at consumer goods cos

Several consumer goods companies have revealed returns from their digital transformation initiatives in the recent months.
Retail and consumer company EBITDA

Electrolux, Unilever, Tupperware, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, and Burberry Group have announced their digital plans and digital achievements in the last 12 months.


Electrolux, as part of digital transformation, is hiring a chief experience officer, bringing teams from product line and R&D, design, marketing, digitalization and ownership experience solutions.

“This allows us to accelerate innovation of consumer experiences and their major appliances and small appliances fit very well together,” Electrolux CEO Jonas Samuelson said.


Unilever said it’s keeping more than 35 percent of its media spend on digital channels. The FMCG major said it needs new people with new skills to manage the content driven, highly targeted, data-led campaigns.

Unilever said it creates content rather than advertising, and it uses data and targeted digital marketing to get those messages to the right people at the right time, said Unilever CEO Alan Jope.

Unilever CFO Graeme Pitkethly said the company’s margin delivery rose 90 basis points in current currencies resulting into underlying operating margin of 18.4 percent.


Tupperware aims to make business related investment of approximately $100 million through 2022 enabling sales growth and providing direct annualized cost savings of about $50 million when fully implemented.

Tupperware aims to focus on driving innovation across products and both sales force and consumer experiences. It will also be extending access to make it easier for sales force and consumers to connect, deploying technology to drive sales force engagement and consumer connections, Tupperware CEO Tricia Stitzel said.

Tupperware will be streamlining internal operations in several business units in Continental Europe, expanding the number of experience studios, developing, and implementing digital strategy, and evolving sales force compensation plans in certain units to improve focus on key business drivers, Tupperware CFO Mike Poteshman said.


Colgate-Palmolive said it is looking on e-commerce and direct consumer partners with Hubbell and bond based shave club to build capabilities in digital, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer to strengthen consumer relationships, Colgate-Palmolive CEO Ian Cook said.

Colgate-Palmolive said it is increasing spending in digital business in 2019 after achieving result e-commerce share in 2018. Colgate-Palmolive’s e-commerce shares in the U.S. are up 60 basis points, Colgate-Palmolive CFO Henning Jakobsen said.

“We’ll be looking to bring new innovations specifically to digital channel in China in 2019 to accelerate e-commerce growth,” Colgate-Palmolive COO Noel Wallace said.


Kimberly-Clark said one of its growth pillars is to drive digital marketing and e-commerce. Kimberly-Clark aims to build one-to-one consumer relationships to maximize lifetime value for consumers. Digital is approximately half of working medium mix and that percentage is growing.

Kimberly-Clark said it will deploy data-driven and marketing with targeting to engage with consumers with the right content. The company has gained experience with this approach including in China, South Korea and the US and will to utilize it more globally to engage, acquire and retain consumers.

“Data-driven digital marketing and dynamic content development is helping us to improve consumer engagement, loyalty and ROI,” Kimberly-Clark CEO Michael Hsu said.

The company’s e-commerce channel is growing double digits and it’s about 10 percent of overall revenue. Its online shares in key countries are slightly ahead of or similar to offline positions.

It plans to develop and launch more meaningful innovation, increase investments in digital marketing and improve in store sales execution, Kimberly-Clark CFO Maria Henry said.

Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble said it is significantly reducing the level of corporate resources, moving about 60 percent of corporate roles to the business units and markets.

Procter & Gamble aims to disrupt the brand building with digitally-enabled one-to-one mass marketing.

Procter & Gamble will focus on supply chain transformation enabled by robotic process automation.

Procter & Gamble will be leveraging digitization and data analytics to drive effectiveness of its operation.

“We are creating a more engaged, agile and accountable organization, operating at a lower cost, focused on winning through superiority, fueled by productivity, working at the speed of the market,” Procter & Gamble Vice Chairman and CFO Jon Moeller said.

Burberry Group

Burberry Group said its digital channel outperforms the mainline. “Digital is fully prepared for the launch of Riccardo’s product, which will come at the end of February, and expect to see some exciting things on digital at that point as well,” Burberry Group Chief Operating Officer and Financial Officer Julie Brown said.

Rajani Baburajan

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