SymphonyIRI: Merchandising support down across almost half of all categories, new media to blame

CHICAGO — With the path to purchase evolving, merchandising has increased across just more than half of CPG categories and declined in 47% of categories, SymphonyIRI Group reported Tuesday. 

The drug channel has seen the most erosion in merchandising support, with declines in 60% of the categories within the channel in 2012.

“Smartphones, digital coupons, online retailers and the Internet combined with financial pressures and shifting marketplace dynamics are forever changing how consumers shop,” stated Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI. “If you want to reach and resonate with shoppers today, you need to do more than traditional in-store merchandising. Emerging and evolving technologies have enabled innovative marketers to begin reaching shoppers in their homes while they are researching products and making their lists, and then reinforcing their messages on the way to the store and in the store when consumers are making their final selections."

During the past couple of years, more than one-third of CPG categories sold considerable volume — between 30% and 50% — with merchandising support.

Part of that decline can be attributed to a lower return-on-investment associated with merchandising. The average sales lift associated with merchandising has declined across 80% of categories across all channels, SymphonyIRI Group reported. Grocery and drug channels have seen average sales lift fall across 70% and 73% of categories, respectively.

Even some of the most heavily merchandised categories had declining lift in 2012, SymphonyIRI noted. For instance, the carbonated beverages category, which sells more than 60% of its volume with merchandising support, saw lift decline by 14 points during the last year. And, Mexican foods, which sell half of its volume with merchandising support, saw lift slide more than five points during the same period.

“The ‘old way’ of doing things is simply not as impactful as it was in the past,” Viamari said. “To capitalize on new and evolving opportunities, marketers must enmesh the broad and rapidly growing array of old and new media tools at their disposal. They must take chances and not be afraid to make mistakes.”

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- 10:53 AM says

The depth of merchandising support means a great deal to consumers. Buy one get one free does very well where buy one get 50% of the second one generates a much smaller return. Savy consumers know when to stock up. Some impulse buyers might switch brands based on a small TPR, others may not. Also strong price increases over the last year may have forced consumers to rethink when to buy.

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