SINGAPORE: Average FMCG sales growth in Asia Pacific slowed to 6.7% in 2013, declining further to 5.5% in Q1 2014 and 4.1% in Q2, the latest data from Nielsen has revealed.

The research firm's Asia Pacific Retail & Shopper Trends Report examined 13 markets in the region and also found that volume growth accounted for less than 3% of overall growth in 2013, falling to just 0.3% in Q2 2014.

By contrast, the region recorded robust sales growth of 12.4% in 2012 and 13.1% in 2011, leading Nielsen to suggest that consumption growth is adjusting to a more stable level, Mumbrella reported.

High inflation has hit consumer spending in a number of countries which are also witnessing longer-term trends, explained Peter Gale, Nielsen's MD of retailer services for Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Greater China.

He said these trends include decreasing household sizes, increasing household debt and consumers' prioritisation of spending on technology and out-of-home consumption.

"The lack of growth in FMCG is somewhat of an anomaly in a region where overall economic performance and forecasts remain relatively positive," he added.

He recommended retailers keep pace with consumers' basic expectations by offering competitive prices and greater convenience, improving their in-store experience and focusing on ranges that appeal to shoppers who are strapped for time.

On a more positive note, Nielsen noted that sales did not contract in Hong Kong and also attributed a significant proportion of what growth there was in the region to the rising influence of convenience stores and minimarkets.

This trend is being seen in both mature markets, especially South Korea and Taiwan, and the emerging markets of Indonesia and Thailand.

In addition, pharmacies and personal care outlets should continue to gain FMCG market share as more consumers visit each week, the report said.

Data sourced from Mumbrella, Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff