UK confectionery sales decline in volume terms, SymphonyIRI Group reveals

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Confectionery sales have declined over the the last year in the UK, despite events like the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, the latest Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry trends report from SymphonyIRI Group reveals.

It found volume sales of confectionery dropped 1.3% for the 36 week period up to 1 September 2012, compared to the same period in the previous year – the second highest decrease across all food categories.

At the same time sales value is increasing – up 1.3% in the first nine months of 2012 – indicating the price of confectionery is rising, forcing shoppers to cut back to make savings in the cost of their weekly shop. The price of confectionery is rising more slowly than in any other food category however.

Confectionery manufacturers have responded to declining sales volumes and competitive pressures by increasing the amount of product they sell on promotion – up from 64% of all products sold in the year up September 2011 compared to 66% in the year up to September 2012, said researchers.

While confectionery remains one of the most highly promoted grocery products, manufacturers are changing the type of promotion they adopt – moving to more off-shelf displays which prove more effective in shifting volumes, said SymphonyIRI Group. Earlier this year, SymphonyIRI Group’s report ‘Pricing and Promotion in Europe 2012’ highlighted a 5.9% increase in off-shelf promotions for confectionery manufacturers. There is evidence that off-shelf often achieves better uplifts and is more efficient for retailers, who are choosing to place more products on them to maximise their effect, the company said.

Tim Eales, director of strategic insight at SymphonyIRI Group, said: “As price inflation continues and incomes are squeezed, shoppers are forced to cut back on non-essential items. In the past we have always seen them save a little for a treat but now even the treats are being rationed. This may be combined with a desire by consumers for a healthier lifestyle.”