Nielsen is out with a report saying that seven percent of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales have been driven by e-commerce over the past year, which represents “nearly all the growth” in the sector. According to the report, “Consumers are growing more familiar and comfortable with online outlets, as consideration of trips to non-physical stores is up 50% from 2015, with sales growth from brick-and-mortar channels flat at 0.1%.”

For many, the report says, “the appeal of online convenience and price savings is fueling online growth—even in the grocery, frozen foods and dairy sections. Though dollar share is small (2.4% for grocery items, 0.9% for frozen foods and 1.2% for dairy), these center store edibles have seen impressive growth in online channels.”

The report goes on: “Looking across total U.S.FMCG, e-commerce is having a much larger impact on overall sales in non-food categories. Across total shopping trips, 14% of Americans say they consider buying online, which is up from 9% in 2015. Additionally, 33% more households are influenced by digital before they visit a physical store for non-food items than in 2015.”

KC's View: The thing is, FMCG are largely the products that are not differentiators - they are the items that you can get anywhere, and for which there is no built-in advantage in going to the store. So it totally makes sense for the sales of these products to move, inexorably, online.

Which is why bricks-and-mortar stores that want to remain relevant and resonant to their shoppers need to focus on the items that make them different, and that add to a compelling in-store shopping experience. Focus on FMCG, and you may end up relying on a business model that could be FUBAR.