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The Calm Before The Promotional Storm Surrounding The Diamond Jubilee & National Sporting Events

The Grocer

After months of frantic activity the leading supermarkets have slowed down their promotional activity ahead of Summer 2012 national events.

The massive year-on-year hikes in the number of featured space promotions – driven by a combination of brand price-matching and seasonal activity – came to a halt in February. According to data from retail analyst Assosia, featured space deals were down slightly in the four weeks to 4 March, from 8,521 and 2011 to 8,445.

“It is possible the retailers have maxed out the space they are willing to give to promotions at the moment,” suggested Assosia managing director Kay Staniland.“I think things are likely to be fairly steady for the next few months.”

Of course, once the summer of celebration begins – bringing with it the Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and Euro 2012 – all bets will be off, and retailers might push the promotional boat out as they did at Christmas, when the total number of offers broke the 10,000 barrier in one four-week period. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw activity rise to close to the levels seen last Christmas,” said Staniland.

Olympic sponsor Cadbury is likely to be at the forefront of that activity. The chocolate giant tops our list of the 10 most promoted brands this month , running 416 deals in February – nearly three times as many as second-placed Kellogg’s, and up from 267 this time last year.

Although some of Cadbury’s February deals were on its Olympic-themed lines, the vast majority were on Easter eggs, with Assosia noting a lot of offers sited at tills and in-store entrances. In fact, the confectioner appears to be muscling its rivals out of promotional space, with the number of Nestlé and Mars deals down by about 50% on a year ago.

Cadbury, along with nine of the top 10 brands, has increased the average saving offered to shoppers compared with a year ago – though the 0.4 percentage point increase is modest compared with the likes of Walkers and Birds Eye.

In many cases, the hike in average saving is a result of brands using more half-price deals, with Walkers doubling its number of such offers year-on-year, and Birds Eye running 55 deals this year compared with 19 in 2011. Overall, the proportion of deals using the half-price mechanic has increased five points year-on-year to 24.6% of all deals, while there has been a four-point drop in x-for-y deals to 26%.

4 weeks to 04/03/2012
RankingRank last monthBrandCurrent Number of promotionsIncrease / Decrease on previous monthIncrease / Decrease on previous yearAverage % savingAverage savings % change m-o-mAverage savings % change y-o-y
53Birds Eye134-16.77%-6.29%38.68%-2.7%6.6%
97Weight Watchers81-34.15%138.24%32.88%-0.1%-7.0%
Total o/l12884.46%-11.66%27.85%-2.7%-0.5%
Total brands7157-2.49%1.33%36.73%-1.4%2.5%

Published in The Grocer, 10 March 2012