Consumer Packaged Goods: The State of CPG and 7 Top Brand Examples

September 12, 2023

Best examples of consumer packaged goods

Whether it’s a new cereal, custom beverage, or even a trendy luxury body wash shoppers just have to try, one thing’s certain: the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market drove a ton of growth over the last two years.

And up-and-coming CPG brands are leveraging ecommerce in a big way.

Consumer packaged goods brands can really differentiate with their online shopping experience, leaning into personalization, convenience, community, and more. These experiences make customers want to order cereal online versus picking up a box in-store (looking at you, Magic Spoon).

In 2022, the consumer packaged goods market size was valued at $2 trillion, and it’s projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 2.98% to almost $2.5 trillion by 2028.

What’s more, there are tons of new, smaller players shaking up this market—like OLIPOP, Athletic Greens, and Brightland. As we’ll cover here, CPG companies are innovating fast, and the landscape is changing.

Several “older” CPG brands (think: Dove, Suave, and Pepsi) are turning to alternate channels like direct-to-consumer (DTC), social media marketing, and influencer marketing to keep up with the successful up-and-coming brands in their niches.

In this post, we’re diving into all things CPG, from what CPG brands are to a list of the top consumer packaged goods companies in 2023 and more.

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What are CPGs (consumer packaged goods)?

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) are products customers use regularly and therefore need to replenish frequently—like food, beverages, over-the-counter drugs, as well as cleaning and beauty products.

CPG can be purchased individually (like one bar of soap) or in bulk (a package of soap from a warehouse store like Costco). These products typically move fast from shelves because they’re perishable or in high demand.

What are the four main categories of consumer packaged goods?

The term “consumer packaged goods” covers a variety of products but can be categorized into four main types:

  1. Food and beverage: This category often comes to mind when you think about CPG. Because food and beverage items are perishable and have varying shelf lives, they’re a big driver for CPG brands.
  2. Beauty and wellness: Makeup, hair and skin care, supplements—you name it.
  3. Apparel: Everything from t-shirts and jeans to sneakers and hats.
  4. Household products: Cleaning supplies, laundry products, pesticides, paint thinners, etc.

What are some common consumer packaged goods examples?

CPG products include a wide range of items. Most notably are products like:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Canned beverages (from soda to alcoholic drinks)
  • Sanitizer and disinfectant sprays
  • Laundry detergent
  • Deodorant
  • Mascara

Among the best-selling CPG products online? Vitamins were the top dog at $7.4 billion in revenue.

The characteristics of CPG brands

While consumer packaged goods span a range of products—from carbonated beverages to body wash—some key qualities string them together.

✅ CPG are purchased frequently

Because consumer packaged goods have a varied shelf life and are usually in high demand, these products are consumed faster than others.

As a result, CPG inventory turns over quickly for retail companies compared to other products without a shelf life (or one that’s much longer than, say, a tube of mascara or a jug of milk).

In fact, the CPG industry saw a massive uptick in sales when the COVID-19 pandemic hit—to the tune of $8.5 billion from March 7th-21st, 2020, or a 35% jump in the number of people shopping online for consumer packaged goods.

CPG statistics consumer packaged goods
Credit: Nielsen

✅ CPG are lower in cost

From the consumer lens, consumer packaged goods are less expensive than products you don’t replace nearly as frequently—like a new car or TV.

✅ CPG move in large volumes due to high demand

Because consumer packaged goods are purchased so often, they’re packaged and shipped in large quantities. There’s a high demand for specific items, like food, beverages, and beauty products.

As such, out-of-stock items can have a considerable or outsized impact on CPG brands. 39% of shoppers are likely to switch to another brand or product if they encounter an out-of-stock experience, while 32% are likely to switch retailers altogether.

✅CPG are purchased by consumers all over

People worldwide use consumer packaged goods, which means the retailers behind them are used to shipping globally. International expansion can be a large endeavor for a retailer but is a lucrative investment for brands with products that are a great market fit for various international locales.

CPG brands are turning to ecommerce to stand out

Due to demand, the CPG industry is highly competitive. Brands are battling for shoppers’ attention and limited shelf space.

With retail customers looking for more from brands—demanding especially personal shopping experiences—CPG brands can’t afford to sit back. 75% of US consumers say they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that understand them on a personal level.

Moreover, 43% of consumers say they’ll continue shopping for at least some of their groceries online post-pandemic.

With convenience (and exceptional experiences) in mind, many traditional CPG giants, like Gillette (more on that later), are turning to ecommerce to keep up and stand out.

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What’s the difference between CPG and retail?

It can be tricky to determine how consumer packaged goods and retail relate.

“Retail” refers to just one part of the CPG industry: selling a product to a customer.

“Consumer packaged goods,” however, refers to the entire network needed to produce a product and get it to the consumer. This network includes manufacturing, shipping and logistics, marketing, and the retail arm.

Many CPG brands of varying sizes use brick-and-mortar retailers to sell their products. For example, Lysol products are sold at Target, but so are Cocokind products.

With ecommerce continuing to grow and shopper behavior warranting more flexibility and options for shopping, many CPG brands are also selling through their own ecommerce channels.

Take TULA Skincare, for example. You can purchase products directly from their website or use their store locator to find a physical store that sells TULA, like Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, and more.

On the flip side, this shift to ecommerce means brands that rely heavily on physical retail to move their products need to improve their in-store experience.

Women’s lingerie brand, LIVELY, makes it easy to shop their products online with their Fit Guide but has also created a pleasant in-store shopping experience with their Fit Sesh appointments.

LIVELY CPG 2 consumer packaged goods
LIVELY CPG brand consumer packaged goods
Credit: Lively

Offering helpful sizing appointments at an aesthetically-pleasing store that matches their ecommerce experience incentivizes customers to check out LIVELY IRL.

How are CPG products different from durable goods?

This difference boils down to the frequency of use and replenishment. That is:

  • Consumer packaged goods refer to items people use and frequently replenish (like food, beverages, and household cleaning products)
  • Durable goods refer to (often larger-ticket) items people purchase and replace less often (like couches, beds, and washing machines)

CPG brands move product SKUs at a much higher rate than durable goods brands due to the nature of the products that fall under each category. CPG move faster than durable goods and are typically less expensive.

That said, shoppers usually spend more time researching durable goods over CPG because they’re a bigger investment at a higher price point.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis, among other major world events, have certainly shaken things up in CPGland. Let’s look at some of the most significant CPG trends that have been popping up:

1. Traditional brands rushed to DTC

Big brands that have been around for decades are seeing value in DTC.

For example, shortly after DTC subscription shave brand Dollar Shave Club came on the scene, long-time go-to brand Gillette ramped things up with their marketing (and even filed a lawsuit) to compete.

2. Big retail players are launching private-label brands

Large brands are starting their own in-house brands for the purpose of selling directly to customers (per trend 1).

Amazon, for example, launched Goodthreads, an everyday casual apparel line:

Amazon Goodthreads consumer packaged goods
Amazon Goodthreads 2 consumer packaged goods
Credit: Amazon

The logic is there—if shoppers are already on Amazon.com looking for toothpaste or laundry detergent, they might as well browse new clothing items offered at Amazon prices. It leverages their pre-earned trust as distributors or marketplaces.

3. Faster delivery is the industry standard

Quick delivery is no longer a value-add—it’s a must-have.

Globally, 41% of customers expect product delivery within 24 hours. Two-day shipping has become the standard offer, with same-day or overnight delivery more often being expected in metropolitan areas.

4. CPG brands are collaborating with others in different verticals

Body-care brand Curie partnered with Kinfield, an outdoor skincare brand (think: sunscreen and anti-itch cream for mosquito bites), and 50 other DTC brands—like Andie and Modern Citizen for a campaign for female and BIPOC founders. The partnership resulted in a 1,000% increase in sales for Curie the week it went live.

As Sarah Moret, Curie’s founder, and CEO, told Glossy in an interview:

“It’s a great way to discover new brands, and you can tap into customer bases because there’s already that built-in trust.”

5. Leveraging zero-party data to make engaging, personalized experiences

Personalization is everything in ecommerce. More brands are leaning on zero-party data—or information shoppers willingly provide brands—over other data sources.

Why? Zero-party data tends to be more reliable than, say, third-party data because customers voluntarily share that information.

CPG brands are using zero-party data to create engaging shopping experiences.

Take customizable hair care brand, Function of Beauty, for example. The brand is built entirely on customer data in that shoppers take a quiz, and Function of Beauty crafts a personalized hair care formula.

Not only are customers getting a made-for-them product, but Function of Beauty has a trove of zero-party data they can tap to create stellar shopping experiences.

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7 Top CPG companies in 2023

You’ve likely heard of these CPG companies (and their sub-brands). Their the biggest players in this space. To diversify their revenue streams, these companies have varying sub-brands, sometimes spanning across product categories.

Here’s a look at the top consumer packaged goods companies out there today:

1. Nestlé

Nestlé owns a variety of sub-brands within the food and beverage CPG space, including Nestlé Toll House Café KitKat, Nespresso, Stouffer’s, and more. Nestlé made $107 billion USD in revenue in 2022.

2. PepsiCo

In 2022, PepsiCo netted $86.4 billion in revenue, and owns brands in the CPG food and beverage category like Mountain Dew, Tostitos, Rold Gold, Sabra, and more.

3. General Mills

General Mills, another food and beverage CPG giant, reported $18.99 billion in revenue in 2022. Notable brands under the General Mills umbrella include Annie’s, Betty Crocker, Bisquick, and more.

4. Unilever

Unilever houses a variety of CPG brands across the categories of food, beverage, and household products. The CPG giant made $63.29 billion in revenue in 2022—a 7% increase from 2020. Brands under the Unilever umbrella include Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Seventh Generation, and more.

5. Anheuser-Busch InBev

Anheuser-Busch is a CPG beverage veteran, with brands like Bud Light, Budweiser, Corona, and more under their belt. AB In-Bev netted $57 billion in revenue in 2022.

6. L’Oréal

CPG beauty giant L’Oréal has been around since 1909 and owns several major beauty brands like Garnier, Maybelline New York, Essie, and more. L’Oréal reported roughly $40.31 billion USD in sales in 2022.

Recently, the company acquired DTC brand Aesop for $2.5 billion, illustrating the power of branding and customer education for scaling brands.

7. Proctor & Gamble

Last but not least is CPG major player, Proctor & Gamble. P&G houses several big brands across the personal care CPG space—from household and laundry products to skincare and oral care. Notable brands include Pampers, Tide, Charmin, Tampax, and more.

In 2022, P&G reported $80.19 billion in revenue.

Rising consumer packaged goods brands

You’re familiar with the big players, but what about the smaller—yet super successful—fish in the CPG pond?

As DTC CPG brands (say that three times fast) continue to make headway, let’s look at a few notable brands giving industry behemoths a run for their money.

Liquid Death (food and beverage CPG brand)

Brands like Liquid Death are making quite an impact in the CPG food and beverage space. The company is on a mission to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into landfills and oceans while encouraging folks to drink more water.

Liquid Drink CPG brand 3 consumer packaged goods

At first glance, Liquid Death may look like a hardcore triple IPA when it’s just…water in a can. The branding (and concept) has garnered an interesting customer response:

As of October 2022, Liquid Death was valued at $700 million, up from $525 million just nine months prior (a 33% increase!).

Care/of (beauty and wellness CPG brand)

Care/of is a subscription-based vitamin brand that offers personalized supplement recommendations based on customer quiz results.

Personalization is a massive plus in customers’ eyes, especially regarding healthcare, with CVS’s Health Care Insights Study 2022 highlighting just how much consumers value personalization.

Care Of CPG brand consumer packaged goods
Credit: Care/of

Care/of is not only personalized, but it’s convenient with its subscription offering. Customers no longer have to remember to pick up vitamins from the store when they’re out—but they’re available at Target!

The brand has been so successful since it launched in 2015 that Bayer acquired it in 2020 with a $225 million valuation.

Frequently asked questions

What is CPG vs. FMCG?

CPG stands for consumer packaged goods, while FMCG stands for fast-moving consumer goods.

They’re pretty similar, but the subtle distinction is that FMCG products are fast-moving. Think of things like soda and cereal—items people purchase repeatedly.

So, all FMCG products are CPG products, but some CPG may not be FMCGs if they aren’t particularly fast-selling.

What are DTC and CPG?

DTC stands for direct-to-consumer. CPG stands for consumer packaged goods.

CPGs are goods consumers buy regularly, like soap, toothpaste, and food products. On the other hand, DTC is a business model where the brand sells directly to the customer.

For example, when you go to Walmart to buy a tube of Colgate toothpaste, you buy a CPG, but it’s not direct to the consumer. Colgate isn’t selling the product directly to you—they’re doing it through Walmart.

However, if you head to the Adidas store to buy a pair of sneakers, this is a DTC experience because Adidas, as a brand, is selling its product to you directly.

Is B2C the same as DTC?

Not quite. B2C stands for business to consumer, while DTC stands for direct to consumer.

The difference is that in a DTC model, the company sells directly to the end customer in a DTC model, such as when you buy a pair of shoes from Nike’s online store.

The traditional distribution model, in contrast, would require you to go to a local sports store to find Nike products.

Both are examples of B2C businesses, but the DTC model only applies to purchases directly from the brand.

What are 4 types of consumer goods?

You can classify consumer goods into these four categories:

1. Shopping goods: Products customers usually spend a lot of time researching before buying (like a car)
2. Convenience goods: Products customers usually buy without a lot of thought (like toilet paper)
3. Specialty goods: Products that have unique characteristics or brand loyalty, making consumers specifically seek them out (like an iPhone).
4. Unsought goods: Products that customers don’t typically get excited about buying (like a dishwasher)

Is Nike a CPG?

Yes, Nike is a fantastic example of a CPG brand, producing a wide range of consumer goods like footwear, apparel, and sports equipment.

Is Coca-Cola a CPG?

Coca-Cola is one of the most successful CPG brands of all time, capturing a considerable portion of consumer demand in their industry.

Is Starbucks a CPG?

Yes, Starbucks is a CPG that seeks to target consumers by being present with brick-and-mortar stores wherever their customers are, selling consumer goods like mugs, tumblers, and food items.

Is Adidas a CPG?

Adidas is a classic example of a CPG brand with a massive portfolio of products, an intelligent supply chain, and various distributors, enabling a worldwide sales engine.

Is Amazon an FMCG?

As a company, Amazon has its fingers in many pies.

While they aren’t primarily an FMCG company, the goods they sell on Amazon.com (books, clothing, food products, and toilet paper) are all fantastic examples of FMCG products.

CPG brands are innovating online to stay relevant

The world is constantly changing, and consumer behavior is changing along with it.

To maintain relevance (or to take a shot at industry giants), CPG brands are turning to ecommerce and the opportunities that the channel presents.

Many forward-thinking brands are looking to get more control over their website’s frontend layer, to create experiences worthy of their brand. That’s exactly how Shogun can help.

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Kaitlyn Ambrose

Kaitlyn works on all things content at Shogun. ⚡

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