Supermarkets Are Just 3 of 10 Heavy Promoters

February 15, 2010

When the going gets tough, retailers use coupons to stimulate traffic.

When the going gets tough, retailers use coupons to stimulate traffic. They see the CPG-funded incentives as optimal vehicles to show sharp values on brands, and to make consumers aware of savings available while they’re planning their store trips for the week.

Retailer promotion pages surpassed 9.0 billion in 2009, up 37.7% for the year, “continuing the pattern of significant annual growth rates which began in 2007,” said Marx Promotion Intelligence, a division of TNS Media Intelligence.

With consumers so focused on savings, and with CPG footing much of the bill, this looks like a double win for retailers. Moreover, store-exclusive bargains could help sway trip decisions, and they could help protect retailer margins. When issued as part of a collaborative themed program between retailers and manufacturers—say, for Back to School or grilling campaigns—they could lead to incremental purchases and expose shoppers to companion products and categories that they may not have bought before, observes.

Lots of reasons to leverage retailer promotion pages. “As consumers adapt to new economic realities, marketers are increasing their use of FSI coupons within their marketing mix to deliver advertising impact, influence consumer behavior, and secure retailer distribution and merchandising,” said Mark Nesbitt, president, TNS Media Intelligence. “Leading retailers are also increasing their use of FSI vehicles to drive planned shopping trips and build shopper loyalty. Manufacturers and retailers are working together to deliver relevant incentives to their consumers and shoppers during increasingly difficult economic times. Although ‘shopper marketing’ tactics are still evolving, FSIs have clearly emerged as a key component of manufacturer- and retailer-aligned programs.”

Of the 10 most active retailers in promotion pages circulated, just three are supermarkets: Kroger, Publix and Safeway.  Kroger slipped from fifth position in 2008 to seventh in 2009; Publix edged down from seventh to eighth; and Safeway maintained its slot in ninth of the Top Ten.  

On the strength of a 43.9% rise to more than 1.8 billion pages, Target sustained its #1 position. PETSMART rose from fourth to second place. Two of the leading dollar chains soared: Dollar General went from tenth to third place on a 386.2% rise to 885 million pages, and Family Dollar went from seventeenth to sixth place on a 227.5% increase. 

The three largest drug chains round out the Top Ten, devoting prominent page space to food promotions to drive visits, basket size and profits.  Walgreens is in fourth place, CVS is in fifth, and Rite Aid is in tenth.