A number of retailers reported strong results around the Queen's Diamond Jubilee week in early June 2012, suggesting that shoppers were only too happy to get into the mood for a unique summer of festivities that would also take in the European football championships, the Wimbledon tennis tournament and the London Olympics.
Tesco reported its biggest ever trading week outside of a Christmas period in the run-up to the Jubilee, with sales in excess of £1bn. Sainsbury’s also announced a "strong" trading period, with 1.4% growth in like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) in Q1. Sainsbury's said it attracted two million extra customers in the Jubilee week itself.
Waitrose was another retailer to announce a record week over the Jubilee period. Its sales were 19.8% higher than during the same period in 2011.
"The prospect of a long weekend and a wonderful focus on celebration spurred shoppers into action. Many people clearly welcomed having a great reason to step away from day-to-day budgeting to stock up on fabulous food and drink for Jubilee parties and entertaining."
Rupert Thomas, Marketing Director, Waitrose
In the run-up to the Jubilee weekend, retailers were competing hard for additional spend using strong promotions, in-store merchandising and bespoke private label and branded ranges.
Source: Manufacturer websites
However, it wasn’t only retailers that were taking the opportunity to add excitement to their ranges; branded suppliers also added to the excitement. The likes of Kelloggs, Kingsmill and Marmite all released limited edition products to help shoppers get into the Jubilee spirit.
Celebrations kick off with early summer optimism
Source: IGD ShopperVista, base: all main shoppers, May’12
Our ShopperVista tracking data in May 2012, in the run-up to the Jubilee week, revealed that fewer shoppers were claiming they would be focused on saving money in the year ahead, suggesting that shopper sentiment was boosted by the build-up to the celebrations.
Similarly, quality rose up shoppers’ list of priorities in May 2012, with 36% claiming it was the most important aspect of their food and beverage shopping, compared with 31% in April 2012. This underlines our view that 2012 will prove to have been a rollercoaster ride for shoppers. We expect the focus on value to have been punctuated by spikes in confidence caused by major national and sporting events.
Price, promotions and range are increasingly important to shoppers
Source: IGD ShopperVista, base: all main shoppers,
fieldwork May'12, arrows denote significant changes in last month
Recent investment by retailers in the in-store environment, and a bigger focus on in-store events, reflect the fact that price, promotions and range are now more important to shoppers when choosing where to shop.
For example, Tesco has kicked off a £1bn investment initiative focusing on improving price, quality, service and range. The retailer announced at its Q1 trading update that it had already refreshed 100 of its stores since the start of 2012 and recruited and provided specialist training to a large number of new staff.
In-store events: some want more but care is needed
In-store events play an important role around major events and celebrations like those seen in 2012. But it is important that retailers stage events that enable shoppers to enjoy the festivities without hindering their regular shopping experience.
Base: all grocery shoppers, May’12
Shoppers are relatively divided on the usefulness of in-store events, with four in ten claiming to always look out for products on event displays and a similar number agreeing that themed events make grocery shopping more enjoyable.
A third of shoppers say they’d like supermarkets to do more in-store events around specific events. With shoppers increasingly hunting around for the best value, its not surprising that there is a clear demand for such events in-store.
However, retailers and suppliers need to be aware that too many events that are irrelevant to many shoppers can have a negative impact. Our ‘Influencing the shopper in-store’ research shows that many shoppers believe some in-store events go too far. Some 53% of shoppers agree with this and only 18% disagree.
Some implications for the industry
The unique coincidence of the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012, Wimbledon and the Olympics occurring back-to-back looks to have engendered a real sense of patriotism during 2012, with initial retailer sales data and our ShopperVista research suggesting they resulted in a temporary lift in shopper confidence. There were clear opportunities for both retailers and suppliers to take advantage at a time when shoppers were more inclined to splash out.
In general terms, an innovative approach to exploiting such events is crucial for retailers, while suppliers need to think creatively, applying new ideas to categories or proposing cross-category activity. Entry, execution, excitement and exit are the key to delivering events with the greatest shopper impact.
Our ShopperVista website, tracking data and monthly hot topics will keep you up to date with changes in shopper sentiment and future behaviour.