BLOG: Retailers treading on egg shells- will Easter sales be reborn?
In previous years, the Easter period has been a time for consumers to stock up on super-sized, premium shell eggs for families. However, as many Easter categories have been in year-on-year decline, the real focus this Easter is likely to be on immediate consumption and bitesize products.
In light of this shift in consumer behaviour, major confectionery brands are fighting back with increasing Innovation and NPD, which has seen impulse and novelty eggs taking the limelight. No bigger success than the MaltEaster bunny which delivered Mars sales of £9.38m in 2011. Nestle’s Smarties Choc Chics and the iconic Cadbury’s Creme Egg also continue to be popular consumer choices.
It is crucial that major confectionery brands have the right Brand Managers and Innovation teams in place long before the Easter period in order that they can set seasonal brand plans to be rolled out in store in the weeks running up to the event.
TV campaigns do well to create chocolate hysteria at Easter with brands also keen to build up TV exposure in the run up to the Olympics. A great example of this is the multi-million pound Cadbury Creme Egg ad campaign.
Easter is a key time for retailers and manufactures to boost sales, with most retailers reporting slumps in recent times. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and Asda will benefit from creative in-store concepts to innovate at POS. Gondola End displays will entice customers while immediate consumption ranges at till points will tempt impulse purchases.
Major multiples championed deep discounts on shell eggs in 2011 and are set to do the same in 2012. So convenience retailers will need strong pricing and promotion strategies to ensure they win over consumers in bitesize ranges such as Cadbury Mini Eggs and Galaxy Caramel Mini Eggs, while not forgetting the importance of last minute shell egg purchases.
Tesco’s success with tertiary brand ChokaBlok ice-cream has lead to a brand new range of premium gift eggs such as the The Rocky Road of Love egg and The Chocolate Extremist egg, certainly bring a quirky modern feel that is fun and foodie as well as indulgent and witty to the confectionery category. Chokablok generated £1.5m in sales by October 2011 and is on track to double forecasted sales targets.
So with the bank holidays looming, cracked egg prices and multiple purchase promotions should increase consumer spending across the convenience channel, and draw customers in when they are keen to avoid the queues at their local supermarket.
In tough times, confectionery is one of the most reliable categories in food and drink, as it maintains it’s position as one of life’s most affordable luxuries and, although there is no doubt that Retail & FMCG markets are being squeezed, the phones at Quest’s London, Manchester & Dubai offices continue to ring, with client briefs and urgent requirements.
We continue to be busy with a wide range of jobs in Buying, Merchandising, Category Management, National Accounts, and Marketing functions and are well placed to help people start or develop a career within the UK and international Grocery markets.
Julia Brock - Senior Consultant - Consumer at Quest
To find out more about FMCG roles through Quest, connect with Julia on LinkedIn