Tried and true or something new?

As anyone who has fallen off a diet knows, confectionery is one of the most impulsive categories around. (Monday me: “No chocolate, thanks, I’m avoiding sugar!” Friday me: devours family-size share pack.) What’s less clear is what drives impulse.

As with many categories in P&C, there is an emphasis on NPD when it comes to ranging confectionery. Positioning in-store is skewed towards the new and the flashy. This draws out the curiosity in shoppers, prompting unplanned purchases, or perhaps upselling to a bigger basket.

But while “newness” is often heralded as the key to impulse, there is still a clear favouring of established brands. This is also understandable – there is trust in the familiar and shoppers can be creatures of habit.

So, when it comes to driving impulse sales, what’s more important: newness or familiarity?

According to Ferrero Australia Category Strategy Director Sheri Juchau, both are relevant to P&C shoppers.

“While NPD attracts consumers seeking variety and excitement, trusted brands have enduring appeal and can shortcut decision-making,” she said.

Mars Wrigley Australia Sales Director Xavier Shortal agrees.

“Both are equally important to drive growth,” he says. “For Mars Wrigley, around 80% per cent of sales comes from our core brands.

“The key is to strike the right balance between ensuring strong innovation is launched alongside the core range, rather than trying to overtake it. Innovation should remind consumers about your core product lines, rather than detract them from it.”

Commenting on the impact of Covid-19 on purchasing behaviour, a spokesperson for Nestlé says the role of brands in times of uncertainty plays a pivotal role.

“38% of customers prefer to consume brands they know and trust and 10% are always looking for something new to try [CMA Convenience Shopper Report 2020],” the spokesperson said.

According to CTC Australia Marketing Manager Bernard Fauvette, trust and familiarity work well for major brands that already occupy a reasonable space on shelf. For smaller brands, keeping things fresh and capitalising on trends can be the difference between gaining or losing favour with the consumer.

Meanwhile, Rocky Road House Executive Manager Danielle Proctor believes newness or familiarity are less important factors in driving impulse sales. The key, she says, is catching the eye of the consumer.

Read more about catching the eye of confectionery shoppers in the May-June issue of Convenience World magazine.

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