We’re proud to be marking our 20th anniversary of providing data and insights to local and multinational manufacturers and retailers in Croatia. Over the last two decades, Nielsen Croatia has grown from having just seven associates in the country filling out questionnaires and printing and binding reports on ad-hoc research projects to having 120 permanent members of staff and fully automated electronic data processing and delivery of reports on web portals.
For more than 90 years, Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. Throughout that time, we’ve expanded to serve more than 100 countries around the world, covering 90% of the global population.
Our data and research has been crucial to businesses in Croatia, as the retail environment in the country has transformed dramatically in the last decade. In 2005, Croatia had almost 14,000 retail stores (not including specialized stores and open markets). Today, less than 10,000 retail stores are operating. At the same time, modern trade has become increasingly important within the country. Croatia had 338 modern format stores (above 300m2) in 2005, but today it has 742 (not including discounter stores, which amount to 90 stores today). The ratio of modern to traditional trade in 2005 was 30:70 in favor of traditional trade, while that ratio is flipped today.
“Changes are coming fast—we are well aware of that. Throughout the years, in conversations with both retailers and manufacturers, we have noticed that they all have one thing in common: trying to figure out what consumers want and need,” explains Jelena Doko Cetina, Commercial Leader, Nielsen Croatia. “But we have to be aware that consumer needs are one thing, while consumer habits are another. Consumer needs change all the time, but instead consumer habits are very difficult to change and this change happens rarely. Retailers and manufacturers have a main role: how to change consumer habits in order to better respond to their needs.”
The market shifts caused by the structural changes of retail chains and the trade itself have resulted in evolving shopper habits. For example, back in the day, half of sales of toothbrushes was sold in hyper/supermarkets, while today more than half of the same category is sold in drugstores. Croatian shoppers today are looking for efficiency, which means they need to be able to quickly find what they are looking for, they expect wide assortment, high quality fresh food—especially fruits and vegetables—and good value for money. They especially do not tolerate out of stock situations on the shelf.
Jelena noted that, at Nielsen, it’s been important for our measurement and research to keep pace with consumers needs in order to provide the right data to clients. Marketers and brands have to be aware that shoppers are less loyal to the store and the brand; they are loyal only to their needs. In the future, the products and stores that are able to respond to changing consumer needs quickly and efficiently will be the most successful.
With all these changes, Jelena stressed that the Croatian retail market is relatively following global trends. In fact, she noted that the only area where the market falls short is the digitalization of the shopping experience: “And by that, I mean limited numbers of self-service cash registers, few online shopping option availabilities with the traditional retailers and lack of delivery options of products available through global online stores. Still, all of the above have a remarkable potential for future development.”
The future looks bright for businesses and Nielsen in the Adriatics region. As the market continues to evolve, the demand for high quality consumer solutions and the need for innovative products and services should continue to grow. Learn more about our team in Croatia, and discover opportunities to help us provide unparalleled measurement across the Adriatics for another 20 years.