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Merchandising Trends: Supporting the Value Proposition

Merchandising Trends: Supporting the Value Proposition

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 definitions of value.


The past decade has brought with it a proliferation of digital media.  Smartphones, digital coupons, online retailers—the Internet has carved a wide path through the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.  It has intensified competition and fragmented shoppers.  CPG retailers are helping to blur channel differences by adjusting store footprints and locales and competing more heavily across an array of categories and aisles.  Additionally, the United States is still grappling with the impacts from The Great Recession, the longest and deepest economic slide since The Great Depression. Not surprisingly, the intensity of financial pressures has had profound impacts on how consumers live and their grocery budgets.

The result of these influencers is that the path to purchase has forever changed. 

This is not to say that traditional methods of in-store merchandising have become obsolete.  Certainly, this is not the case.  Illustrated throughout this report, traditional tools, including feature only, display only, combined feature/display and price only tactics, still play an important role in educating and activating shoppers.  But, their impact is not quite as powerful as it had once been.  Going forward, the manner in which these tools are leveraged must evolve to keep pace with changing times.

Those CPG marketers that embrace this opportunity to improve and grow will be met with ongoing success in the evolving CPG world.  Those that fail to evolve will find it difficult—even impossible—to remain relevant and competitive. 

Select Findings

• After subsiding briefly in 2011, merchandising activity picked up across a majority of CPG channels in 2012.  Still, on the whole, the past year has actually been a year of mixed trends.  Trends in the grocery and convenience channels closely mirror the industry average, in line with historical performance.  Within drug, however, merchandising activity has been on a downward slide for a couple of years.  In 2012, merchandising slid across 60% of drug channel categories.

Categories with Increasing/Decreasing Merchandising Activity
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• Average merchandising lift fell sharply in 2012—a trend that is consistent across a majority of categories and measured channels.  Today, nearly half of categories achieve lift of less than 50% from merchandising programs.  Despite overall declines in merchandising lift, programs that begin to impact the shopper in the home are having a powerful impact on sales.

Merchandising Activity & Lift by Tactic
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**Download the entire report in pdf format.**

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