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The Best of 2017: Consumer Products Industry

As we look forward to the trends and opportunities in the new year for consumer products companies, we reflected on some of the biggest moments in 2017, including some of our favorite reads.


The acquisition announcements by Hershey Company to buy Amplify Foods and Campbell Soup to buy Snyder’s Lance were certainly significant consolidations in the food industry. Amazon also made major headlines throughout the year, particularly with their industry disrupting acquisition of Whole Foods back in June. Companies in the consumer healthcare industry were also doubling down on their growth strategy. Reckitt Benckiser announced their intention to acquire Mead Johnson for $16.6 billion in February, basing this investment on the projected global increase in healthcare spending.


Specialty retailers, subscription services, and e-commerce sellers were popular businesses to launch via IPO in 2017 with Stitch Fix and Blue Apron making their debut. Stitch Fix issued their initial offering in November and shareholders have watched their investment appreciate through the rest of the year. Investors in Blue Apron Holdings, which launched their offering in June, saw their investment fluctuate and drop from highs as the year progressed.

Canada Goose Holdings, a designer, manufacturer and seller of outdoor apparel, primarily through online retailers and distributors also launched their public offering in Canada. Specialty retailer, J. Jill, Inc. issued their public offering in March and currently have a market capitalization near 340 million.

Digital and Artificial Intelligence

Two more popular topics in 2017 were digital and artificial intelligence and what these trends mean for the consumer products industry. In a piece called, “Rethink Sales and Marketing Strategies in a Digital World,” Clarkston Consulting helps explain why change requires updating, revamping, and potentially retiring your traditional sales and marketing strategies. Clarkston also published a post guiding CEOs on what to look for when hiring a CMO and you may be surprised to hear that Clarkston doesn’t recommend you hire based on digital skills. The key attributes of a successful marketer are entrepreneurialism, being science-minded, and effective story-telling.

Companies also want to better understand how artificial intelligence and blockchain are influencing the supply chain. Although these new technologies won’t be transforming the entire world’s supply chain in the next few years, companies need to start planning right now so they can keep up with the competition. While artificial intelligence may still be considered by some to be a buzz word, similar to big data, cloud and analytics, analytics is actually the critical foundation of an artificial intelligence strategy.  Because analytics is critical to success in AI, Clarkston wrote the piece, “Giving Analytics Meaning Again,” which is designed to make it easier for leaders to know where to start with their advanced data capabilities and ultimately their AI investments.

Coming in 2018

We are planning a lot more content – blog posts, videos, case studies, and more – for our consumer products readers in 2018.  We’re focusing our topics around the major trends facing our industry including artificial intelligence, digital, financial health, and personalization. To stay tuned on these topics and more, please subscribe to our weekly insights.

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