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Winning the battle of Christmas displays for jaded shoppers

Christmas trolley

Pre-Christmas spending on food in 2020 is forecast at nearly 44 per cent of the total $54.3 billion Christmas retail spend, an increase of 10 per cent over 2019 according to Roy Morgan data.

Given that there are likely to be fewer people eating in restaurants and pubs for Christmas this year versus previous years, and more people staying home or gathering outdoors, this places an even greater premium on brand visibility in supermarkets.

This is a highly competitive key selling period when a large amounts of money are spent on securing display space and on displays themselves, so it behoves brands to measure their return on investment. A key way to do this is by measuring share of visibility of a given brand in both freestanding displays and gondola displays.

Looking at a share of displays including both direct and indirect competitors, instead of an absolute number of displays, is a crucial metric to explain the ROI of off-location visibility investment. For example, if your brand invests in one display stand in each store across the country but your competitors invested in twice the amount of displays, they are twice as likely to drive conversion in each store.

Quantitatively, share of visibility can be measured at a number of levels – category, brand or even pack. It’s important to look at it from the shopper’s occasion perspective as categories may be in competition with each other for the same occasion.

For instance, Snooper’s weekly Share of Visibility data collected across hundreds of Coles and Woolworths stores during November indicated that for the treat occasion, confectionery category displays achieved three times the amount of visibility of salty snacks, four times that of crackers, and 30 times that of healthy snacks. 

Chocolate is obviously a key category over the festive period and therefore achieves a high share of off-location space, but what is interesting is how some manufacturers managed to over-index in share of displays versus direct and indirect competition. Mondelez has achieved this by tying up display real estate with impactful yet interchangeable displays from October for Halloween and swapping out components for Christmas.  

Cadbury secures Christmas display real estate for several months with interchangeable displays.

Qualitatively, share of visibility can be assessed by impact on shoppers. Our data consistently shows that activations that inspire shoppers drive higher purchase from off-located displays. Analysis of hundreds of shoppers’ favourite display photos Snooper collects monthly underlines that size and relevance through theming are two key drivers of display impact.

This year Christmas displays the Snooper community have so far rated most highly are unsurprisingly from the confectionery category. Although Cadbury might be the winner in quantitative share of visibility based on the number of displays versus other brands in each store, Ferrero Rocher’s Unwrap Christmas was our shoppers’ favourite display for the month of November. Cadbury’s Secret Santa Gifts ranked second followed by Mars’ Make it Merry and Lindt’s Give the Gift of Bliss. A number of these activations were very consistent with their 2019 counterparts in both visual creative and messaging. Kinder however replaced 2019’s Christmas train with a gift-filled sleigh. 

Sizeable themed confectionery displays were winners of ‘best display’ by shoppers in the lead up to Christmas 2020.

However, theming can lend categories salience even without talking to specific consumption occasions such as treating or entertaining. Snooper’s shopper community particularly noted Coca-Cola’s super-sized Christmas truck display driven by Santa himself in both 2019 (‘Share a Coke with Santa’ and 2020 (‘Taste That Christmas Feeling’). This year Schweppes has entered the fray with a display designed to mimic baubles on a Christmas tree and the tagline ‘Share the Schweppervescence this Christmas’ to capitalise on the festive occasion to drive conversion. 

Coca-Cola’s themed Christmas displays from 2019 (above) and 2020 (below) went for impact via scale.

So whilst display location is still key to drive conversation, sales uplift during key selling weeks is truly driven by best share of visibility during this period. This comes from sizeable themed displays to inspire shoppers but most importantly from competitive investment in share of off-location space.

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