Consumers may be flocking in their millions to online channels but a report to world food and drink leaders claims retailers and suppliers are increasingly opting for “back to basics strategies” to drive growth, rather than the latest internet technologies.

The study, by leading accountants KPMG, was presented to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) in Tokyo this week. It claims 43% of businesses rank sales growth among the top three levers for improving profitability over the next two years, followed closely by product innovation (39%) and cost reduction programmes (36%).

However, IT transformation only ranks in the top three growth levers for 19% of businesses.

Nearly half ranked product development as the highest priority in terms of R&D and innovation investment, with marketing (44%) following closely behind.

Brand-building ranked as the top marketing strategy for 21% of businesses, followed by pricing (13%) and the new trend of consumer data analytics (13%), one of the only novel approaches to be ranked highly.

Online/mobile sales (8%), social media (7%) and app development (4%) were all viewed as much less of a priority. In all cases, traditional business tools were seen as holding the key to business growth over more “trendy” alternatives.

“The world of retail is always fluid, as technology evolves and demographic trends alter. What is interesting from this research, however, is that businesses are turning to tried and tested tactics to ensure they not only survive in this new climate, but grow in it,” said the CGF’s executive vice president Sabine Ritter.

The research interviewed 442 executives from manufacturing and retail companies around the world with at least $250m in sales.