Consumers are embracing a wide variety of money-saving strategies, states Chicago-based market researcher SymphonyIRI Group in its new report, “2012 CPG Year in Review: Finding the New Normal.”

“For 2012, we forecasted that shoppers would continue to define value largely based on price, manufacturers and retailers would pass ongoing commodity price increases on to the shopper, and private-label sales would continue in their current ranges,” said Piyush Chaudhari, president of the Americas, SymphonyIRI.

SymphonyIRI predicts shoppers will remain frugal in 2013, even though there will be continuing signs of economic recovery and strengthening. In addition, the following trends will continue in 2013:

• Shoppers will reduce the number of channels they visit. Share of consumers shopping at fewer than five channels grew three percentage points between Q1 and Q4 2012, and SymphonyIRI believes this will continue as shoppers limit spending to channels that are perceived as offering the best value.

• Millennials are becoming the new baby boomers. They are a 50-million-strong shopping group now forming habits and loyalties. Tailoring offerings to this group and providing outstanding service will pay dividends for decades to come, both literally and figuratively.

• “New” media is rapidly becoming traditional media. The trend of shoppers leveraging the Internet for information and deals is growing and will continue to gain momentum, as millennials age and a new generation that is even more tech savvy than the millennial generation enters the market.

According to SymphonyIRI, to effectively compete in 2013, CPG manufacturers and retailers should:

• Identify opportunities and risks. Manufacturers should closely track the evolving competitive set at the channel and retail level, including traditional brick-and-mortar as well as the online arena, to ensure appropriate alignment of distribution strategies.

• Evaluate pricing and promotional strategies. Manufacturers should continually re-assess and adjust pricing to maintain optimal price gap between private-label and name-brand offerings.

• Enhance new product development initiatives. Manufacturers should constantly evaluate product development opportunities at the value and premium ends of the spectrum. Retailers should explore opportunities to partner with manufacturers to develop complementary national and private-label assortments across categories.