Once upon a time, the consumer products market was a brick and mortar industry. For the most part, consumer goods could only be found on grocery store shelves or at department store beauty counters. These days, a large portion of CPG sales are conducted online. In fact, online sales made up 90 percent of the industry’s growth in 2017.

This statistic has many implications for the CPG industry, but the key takeaway is that as technology and digitalization evolves, so too should brands and their marketing strategies.

While some of the marketing trends anticipated to dominate 2019 are not new, they will likely be used in greater numbers as strategies around digitalization and technology improve. Read on to explore some of the top trends to watch for in 2019.

Authentic Content
Old-school marketing, whether online or in print or video form, tends to be full of perfectly posed, artfully arranged product shots. Today’s consumers (largely millennials) have shown a distinct preference for more authentic content. They’d prefer to see the product being used — whether it’s a sugar alternative in a recipe, a lipstick being swiped on a variety of skin tones, or seltzer water being mixed into an inventive new cocktail recipe. Consumers want to see advertising with real-world applications — ads that demonstrate how the product will be used in their own lives.

Omnichannel Marketing
We’ve already seen an increase in more cross-channel and omnichannel marketing, but expect to see it become an even bigger marketing trend in 2019. Consumers are used to using multiple screens each day, from their smartphones to their laptops, tablets, and TVs. So marketing campaigns that move seamlessly from screen to screen, while telling a cohesive story, are becoming increasingly essential. The goal is to mobilize the massive spending power of the younger, more tech-savvy generations.

Instagram-worthy Packaging
In the U.S. alone, 500 million people use Instagram every day. One billion people worldwide regularly engage with the app and 59 percent of those users are under the age of 30. With so many of these younger users documenting massive portions of their everyday lives, including what they’re eating and drinking, companies have finally started to catch on that the look of their packaging matters. Yes, consumers want functional packaging, but they also want packaging that looks visually appealing — instagram-worthy. Brands that use packaging that is more visually appealing are often shared on social media channels more often, so investing a little more time and money into the look of your product could result in quite a bit of “free” marketing.

Automated Marketing
This trend seems slightly counter-intuitive, but it’s poised to play a big part in the marketing strategies of 2019. Many consumers prefer to have more personal interactions with a brand or company, but they also want to have their questions and queries answered now. Chatbots, driven by artificial intelligence, that can answer the most common and straightforward questions, are being employed more frequently. While it may not be the most personal interaction, consumers appreciate not having to hunt around or wait for their answers. And by 2020, AI use in CPG marketing is expected to jump from 2 percent to 25 percent.

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