On the face of it, all is quiet on the promotional fixtures front – but there are plenty of changes happening below the surface. While the total number of promotions – and the brands doing the most – has been fairly stable in the four weeks to 23 February compared with a month and even a year ago, how they are promoting is altering.

The straight money-off deal is becoming increasingly popular with suppliers and retailers – and shoppers, suggests Kay Staniland, MD at retail analysts Assosia. “The basic ‘price cut/save’ is favoured by most as consumers can see the difference in price – nothing hidden, no x-for-y deals to work out, just a straight forward money-off.”

Of the 10 most-promoted brands, six have increased their use of the ‘save’ mechanic year-on-year. In the past four weeks, over half of Cadbury’s deals in the big five were straight money-off compared with just a quarter a year ago. Mars, Birds Eye and Fox’s have each ramped up use of the mechanic to around 70% of their featured space promotions this month. On average, ‘save’ deals account for 43.5% of all featured space in-store, up 6.3 points on last year.

Meanwhile, the industry is shifting away from the potentially more expensive half-price offer, with eight of the top 10 running fewer such deals. This was particularly true of Birds Eye, which slashed its use of half-price from 42% of deals a year ago to just 22%. On average, half-price now accounts for about 18% of all featured space in-store.

One brand that bucked the trends was Hardys, which offered three times as many featured space deals as a year ago, and proportionally less use of ‘save’. The surge in activity follows a brand revamp late last year supported by a £2.6m push that runs through to April.

But Hardys is an exception, with the rest of the big players generally running similar levels of activity to the previous periods, though Coca-Cola and Walkers are running considerably more deals than a year ago.

“Featured space is an expensive proposition for most companies, but the big players still consider the investment worthwhile,” said Staniland.

4 weeks to 23/02/2014
RankingRank last monthBrandNumber of promotionsIncrease / Decrease on previous monthIncrease / Decrease on previous yearAverage % savingAverage savings % change m-o-mAverage savings % change y-o-y
22Birds Eye200-8.68%-0.50%36.86%1.3%-4.5%
Total o/l20401.64%0.84%27.26%0.1%-0.8%
Total brands8939-1.01%4.55%33.52%0.2%-0.7%

Published in The Grocer, 07 March 2014


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