dunnhumby, London, released The Future of Retail Revenues Must Be Data Led, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, Marietta, Ga., that found 85% of grocery retailers globally lack the capabilities, technology, people and processes to use insights to monetize their data and drive customer experience. Despite barriers, the majority (85%) of global grocery retailers view growing revenues as their top priority in 2020, and plan to do so by improving their use of data insights to develop customer strategies (84%) and to make business decisions (82%).

“The global grocery market is in a fight for survival against pure play and other non-traditional competitors, who are further squeezing razor-thin margins,” says David Clements, global retail director. “We commissioned this study to better understand why so many retailers aren’t taking advantage of new revenue streams, while improving the shopping experience for their customers. We believe the study findings highlight the growing importance of the role of customer data in attaining sustainable growth.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Just 15% of global grocery retailers are leaders, differentiated by data-led customer strategies for growth and improved supplier relationships, while the majority are lagging behind. Forrester uncovered three levels of maturity in grocery retail—leaders (15%), intermediate (55%) and novice (30%). Leaders set themselves apart by showing improved CPG supplier collaboration with 1) sharing customer data insights, 2) providing insights and measurement solutions to support media planning and 3) negotiating retail media placements as part of their annual trade agreements. Regionally, retailers in the United States, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, and Thailand stand out as early leaders in developing customer strategies that drive revenue growth.
  • 96% experience challenges trying to use data to develop customer strategies to drive growth. Retailers are facing several obstacles, including an inability to harmonize data and derive insights across channels (36%), an inability to develop a holistic view of customers (31%) and a lack of necessary technology and skills (31%).
  • Most grocers don’t capitalize on the revenue potential of customer data and in-store/online media channels. While 53% of respondents use customer data, such as from loyalty programs, to make decisions about customers, less than half use other sources, such as social media (49%), point-of-sale (49%), mobile app (46%), promotions data (46%), customer location (43%) and web metric/clickstream data (43%).
  • Majority of grocers leave money on the table by not monetizing media assets. Only 42% of grocers are currently selling branding opportunities on their website and only 37% offer media placements in-store and on their print media. Only 31% of grocers sell branding opportunities on their mobile apps except for Brazil (49%), China (47%) and Spain (38%) where apps are used more frequently.
  • 96% of grocers who offer media opportunities for CPG suppliers on their apps saw an increase in revenue over the last 12 months, with 40% seeing an increase of more than 10%. In addition, 92% of firms offering ads and branding opportunities on their websites saw an increase in revenue from this channel.

“Time is of the essence for grocery retailers to activate the data they already have to improve the customer experience and create new revenue streams that can support their businesses into the future,” says Clements. “There is a significant amount of untapped revenue in grocery. Those that unlock the potential of their data and media assets and improved supplier collaboration will thrive. Retailers that fail to adapt will fall behind in the increasingly competitive marketplace.”


In July, dunnhumby commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate data-driven consumer strategies and the growth of data and media monetization in grocery retail. As part of this, Forrester conducted a global study with an online survey of 613 respondents and 13 interviews with decision makers involved in the strategy and management of data analytics and/or customer strategies at grocery firms globally.