Consumer and retail CEOs reimagining industry amid pandemic

By Scott Rankin

The COVID-19 pandemic brought numerous changes to the Consumer & Retail (C&R) industry, as well as the acceleration of trends related to consumer behavior and expectations. A recent KPMG global study of C&R CEOs, clearly demonstrates how their concerns and priorities have changed, leading to the need and implementation of new business strategies.

The majority of CEOs (52 percent) said that the creation of new digital business models and revenue streams has accelerated by at least a matter of months, with 72 percent of C&R CEOs saying the creation of seamless customer experience streams has also been a focus area.

As C&R CEOs are honing in on new ways consumers want to buy and interact, 89 percent said that digitization of operations and the creation of next-generation operating models has been one of their biggest investments. C&R companies will need to have a consistent and seamless experience, from online to mobile, in-store, pick-up and delivery, in order to win in the market. In addition, the digital experience needs to be applied to C&R companies’ own workforce and how their employees and associates want to work with each other.

As a result of the pandemic, C&R CEOs are also thinking through and developing strategies for new ways of working. The majority, 65 percent, said they will continue to build on use of digital collaboration and communication tools to support the workforce, while 68 percent said remote working has resulted in significant changes in policy to nurture corporate culture. 

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Working remotely has also led to access to critical talent, with 55 percent of C&R CEOs saying that working remotely has widened their potential talent pool. Sixty-nine percent also said that they will downsize their office space. Workforce models of the future can bring significant reductions in cost structures, simplifications in operating models and access to the best talent.

Although consumer confidence is generally down with the majority being cautious on spending and focusing on savings as they evaluate the impact of COVID-19, C&R CEOs are generally confident about the growth prospects of their local economy (76 percent). However, CEOs expect a lower to moderate revenue growth for their organizations over the next three years, with the majority, 41 percent, saying it will be between 0.01 and 2.5 percent, while 31 percent forecast a 2.5 to 5 percent growth.

In all, C&R CEOs are saying their companies have strong fundamentals, to emerge from the pandemic. However, those that focus on continued digital innovation and understanding of customer needs will be the most successful, and will flourish in a post COVID-19 environment.

Scott Rankin is the National Advisory Leader of Consumer and Retail in the U.S. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Andreas Marathovouniotis.

Media contact

Andreas Marathovouniotis

Andreas Marathovouniotis

Associate Director, Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1 201-307-7608



Scott Rankin

Scott Rankin

National Advisory Leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG US

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