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Merchandising Trends:  Achieving Differentiation with a Shopper-Centric Approach

Merchandising Trends: Achieving Differentiation with a Shopper-Centric Approach

In January's report, SymphonyIRI's Times & Trends reflects on ways to shape your new promotional and merchandizing efforts to emphasize value to customers

January 2011
Executive Overview

SymphonyIRI's Times & Trends highlights new developments and critical events across all major CPG categories and channels, providing powerful benchmarking data to help guide your strategic decisions. This issue of Times & Trends explores current and emerging merchandising trends that CPG marketers have embraced during the past few years in an effort to satisfy consumers’ rapidly changing definition of value.


Early in the recession, as CPG prices escalated and consumers adopted increasingly aggressive strategies for finding the best value for their CPG dollar, CPG retailers and manufacturers honed their value image with stepped-up promotional and merchandising activity.

To provide value, today’s marketers are relying on merchandising. In the past year, merchandising support has increased across a majority of CPG categories, and increases cut across CPG channels. But, average lift achieved from these efforts has slipped across more than 50% of categories, and overall CPG unit sales increased less than 1% for the year.

With conservative purchase behaviors expected to persist and inflation predicted to escalate in 2011, the time for CPG marketers to understand what is driving and inhibiting lift among key consumer and target groups is now.

Select Findings

After accelerating sharply in 2009, merchandising activity growth slowed in the past year. Grocery channel shifts were more significant versus industry average and versus the drug channel. Still, 56% of CPG categories are seeing merchandising support climb within the grocery channel, versus an industry average of just under two-thirds of categories.

Percent Cats Decline

Select chart to enlarge.

Volume lift from merchandising support has declined across more than half of CPG categories in the past year despite the fact that, at the total CPG level and across grocery, drug and mass merchandise channels, average depth of discount has remained largely unchanged during that time period. This decline is fairly consistent across CPG channels, but trends vary at the category level.

Percent Cats Reduced

Select chart to enlarge.

See the complete report in the "Merchandising Trends: Achieving Differentiation with a Shopper-Centric Approach " pdf.