Research company YouGov says its online brand tracking tool, BrandIndex, predicted the decline of Tesco in December 2011.
Stephan Shakespeare, CEO and co-founder of YouGov, wrote an article using BrandIndex data in December 2011, which tracked Tesco and its competitors over the course of last year.
Tesco’s scores indicated worrying signs for the brand and Shakespeare said: “Could the sheen have come off the company that has dominated the UK grocery market over the past decade?”
Tesco’s Index score (a composite score of six BrandIndex measures – quality, value, customer satisfaction, corporate reputation, general impression and likelihood to recommend) suffered a steep decline over the course of 2011, with scores dropping from +32 (January 2011) to +22 (December 2011); placing Tesco below Morrisons (+28) in the sector rankings and just above Asda (+21), said YouGov. In comparison, Sainsbury’s managed to only drop from +45 to +40, maintaining the top spot.
Similarly, looking at value scores, Shakespeare said it was Tesco’s declining scores in 2011 that indicated a more serious story for the supermarket.
The supermarket’s value scores plummeted from a healthy +37 to +26 (joint last with Sainsbury’s), said YouGov.
However, while Sainsbury’s can fall back on its healthy scores for quality-focused measures, Tesco cannot, said Shakespeare.
The supermarket’s drop in value scores, which leaves Tesco below Morrisons and Asda in the rankings, indicates a future of uncertainty and presents a problem for a brand that prides itself on great value as well as quality, said YouGov.
According to YouGov, 2011 has been a difficult year for Tesco.
Rresignations and troubles with the ASA and Office of Fair Trading may have, in part, contributed to the UK consumer’s growing negative sentiment towards the brand, it said.
In December 2011, YouGov’s BrandIndex Buzz ranking for Tesco, which asks respondents if they have heard anything positive or negative about the brand through the media or via word of mouth, fell below zero for the first time.
Tesco clearly failed to win the supermarket battle over the Christmas period and its value scores over the festive period dropped dramatically, said YouGov.
Further tell-tale signs, notably the decline in sales and a campaign (Big Price Drop) which, by some accounts, has failed to resonate with consumers, indicate Tesco’s waning scores may not be just a case of bad press but an indication the value perception that has sustained it for so long can no longer be taken for granted, said YouGov.