PARIS: The importance of digital strategy for the FMCG industry has been highlighted in a new global study, which found over half (54%) of C-suite and senior executives see digital as their top priority over the next 12 months.

According to the second annual Global Top of Mind survey from the Consumer Goods Forum and consultancy KPMG International, the focus of executive attention has shifted from economic uncertainty to data, technology and the supply chain.

Based on responses from 469 C-suite and senior executives from FMCG brands and retailers in 32 countries, the report also found 56% thought data analytics to be important, making it the highest-ranked strategic area in the survey.

Nearly half (47%) said they saw data security as being very or critically important to their business while 29% said it will be one of their biggest challenges over the year.

While digital strategy and data analytics clearly emerged as the top issues for senior executives, around a third (32%) felt their capabilities in these areas were inadequate, and KPMG also criticised companies for not doing enough about data security.

Willy Kruh, global chair, consumer markets at KPMG International, said: "While data analytics may be at the top of the corporate agenda, the challenge that should really be keeping companies awake at night is data security.

"Although 47% of the respondents cited data security as being very or critically important, this is not enouggh. Companies are still a long way from where they need to be in terms of protecting their client and proprietary information from security breaches.”

Supply chain management also emerged as an important concern after 38% of respondents referenced it as their main challenge over the coming year while 42% said it would be the main area for increased investment.

Other areas identified for increased investment included international expansion (32%), data analytics (28%) and digital strategy (28%). Separately, 45% said speed and agility is their top priority for improving the supply chain.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), transparency and environmental sustainability were also highlighted as important issues for the next 12 months.

A full 56% said health and wellness as well as CSR and sustainability are very important to their business while 44% cited traceability and transparency in the end-to-end value chain as a top goal, ahead of reducing waste (42%) and sustainable sourcing (41%).

Data sourced from KPMG International, Consumer Goods Forum; additional content by Warc