Portraits of Change:
The New Economy

GroupM Business Intelligence

We’re still experiencing change from the pandemic as new consumer behaviors ripple through multiple sectors, some that will be with us for a long time. And new technologies and economic trends have sprung up as a result.

Portraits of Change: The New Economy—written by Brian Wieser, Kate Scott-Dawkins and other contributors across our group—dives into how these changes affect our culture, economy and the marketing and advertising industry and have forced evolution across five key sectors:

  • Automotive
  • CPG
  • Luxury
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications

Across these five sectors, we have noted three common threads of shifting company activities as a result of changes in consumer behavior:

  • Business transformation accelerating
  • Businesses are rethinking their dependence on distant markets and companies
  • Marketers have opportunities to shift their advertising budgets to reflect these changes

Here are a few key takeaways from the five sectors we focus on:

  • Automotive: saw growth of more than 10% in 2021.
    • An argument could be made for continued investment in marketing and advertising to convert consumers at higher prices now instead of waiting for a return to “normalcy.”
    • On the other hand, lingering fears of the virus could prevent consumers from relying on public transit in the near term. Therefore, the need for cars as commuter vehicles paired with ongoing low-interest rates could be enough persuasion for some to pay up.
  • CPG: over the last two years, the world’s largest packaged goods companies grew by an average of nearly 5%.
    • 14%: The average share of revenue generated by e-commerce for CPG companies.
    • The sector’s marketing priorities seem to be greater addressability and efficiency in their media buys.
    • Given the ongoing march toward the deprecation of third-party cookies and additional privacy measures, many of these marketers are eager to develop their first-party data to apply it to their buys in digital media and television.
  • Luxury: saw growth of 4.5% in 2021.
    • On a two-year average basis, the sector is growing at a mid-to high-single-digit, which suggests that a significant amount of catch-up spending occurred over the past year.
    • The current rate of growth still lags the sector’s pre-pandemic rate, which was reliably in the double digits.
    • Faster growth may return when consumers fully resume travel and social activities.
  • Technology: saw growth of nearly 15% in 2021.
    • The technology sector has benefited from a pandemic-induced shift in consumer spending away from in-person services and experiences toward a reality where things like work and entertainment happening all inside the home, powered by various devices and digital services.
    • Assessing the industry on a two-year average basis, we see historically high levels of growth: PCs and mobile handsets revenues grew by 10%, while gaming grew by an impressive 23%
  • Telecommunications: saw growth of nearly 5% in 2021.
    • Many telecom companies view 2022-2023 as prime years for consumer adoption of 5G services following network launches in 2019, expansion in 2020 and a greater focus on device sales in 2021.
    • Across the globe this year, carriers have made sizable gains in 5G subscribers. Investments in 5G are mirroring efforts by many carriers with fixed networks to broaden the availability of access to direct fiber connections installed at the household level (known as FTTH).
    • There is a chicken-and-egg dynamic at play—companies will hesitate to unveil products that require 5G until consumers commit to it, and consumers will hesitate to commit until enough products are available—that could delay meaningful adoption for the foreseeable future.