CPG Merchandising Support Slowed in 2011

February 13, 2012

symphonyiri-merchandisingactivity-2009-2011-feb2012.jpgMerchandising support increased across 47% of CPG categories in 2011, indicating a continued promotional CPG environment, according to [pdf] a study released in February 2012 by SymphonyIRI. Even, so this is a decrease from 2010, when 58% of categories enjoyed increased merchandising support, and an even more marked decline from 2009, when merchandising support increased across 78% of CPG categories.

The most common percentage volume of merchandising activity in 2011 was 30-49.9%, by 54% of CPG categories, unchanged from 2010.

The report defines merchandising as displays, feature ads, feature and display combined, and price reduction only.

Drug Channel Fuels 2011 Growth

In 2011, 57% of categories within the drug channel saw an increase in merchandising activity, compared to just 40% of categories in the grocery channel. This continued a trend from 2010, when 67% of categories in the drug channel and 54% of categories in the grocery channel had enjoyed increased merchandising support. In 2009, though, the grocery channel stood out, with 80% of its categories seeing increased merchandising activity, compared to just 56% for the drug channel.

Price Only Actions Buck Trend, Remain Steady

symphonyiri-merchandising-tactics.jpgMerchandising support declined across a majority of measured tactics in 2011. 39% of CPG categories saw increased feature & display support, down from 49% in 2010. Similarly, the proportion of CPG categories enjoying increased display support fell 18% from 45% to 37%, while those seeing increased feature support dropped 14% from 57% to 49%. SymphonyIRI suggests that marketers shifting dollars away from these areas should do so with caution, pointing to survey results released in January 2012 indicating that half of shoppers use a store circular to make a list prior to going to the grocery store, while 42% use coupons to make a list.

Meanwhile, the only measured tactic that did not experience a moderation was price-only actions. In 2011, as in 2010, 55% of CPG categories saw increased price-only support.

Beverages Among Top Categories by Activity Level

Data from “Merchandising Trends: Driving Consumption through Shopper Marketing” indicates that carbonated beverages led all categories in 2011 in merchandising activity levels, with this category selling three-quarters of its volume with merchandising support, a 0.3% point increase from 2010. Marketers are also placing significant support behind sports drinks: the category sold almost two-thirds of its volume with merchandising support in 2011, up 2.3% points from the previous year. Meanwhile, energy drinks appeared among the categories with the largest increase in merchandising activity level in 2011, jumping 4.6% points.

Other Findings:

  • Across grocery, drug, and mass channels, 53% of categories experienced increased lift from merchandising activities during the past year, up from 46% in 2010.
  • Categories receiving merchandising support experienced an average lift of 87%.
  • 49% of categories achieved lift of 100% or more from feature-only merchandising efforts during 2011. When backed by display activity, 84% of categories achieved lift of 100% or greater.
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