Sector report: Supermarkets

Insight from RAMetrics

312 970x406-Supermarkets

Over the last decade we have seen shopping habits evolve, be it due to self-service tills, contactless payments or online shopping. Similarly, supermarket retailers have been successfully diversifying their offerings to provide services such as telecoms, non-grocery retail (clothes, homeware etc.) and even finance.

According to Kantar, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has brought significant changes to the supermarket sector. As of September 2020, the take-home grocery market is growing at a rate of 12% year on year and there’s been a 24% increase in the amount spent per trip.

The average British basket size has increased by £11, although shopping trip frequency has seen a 10% drop – so people are buying more, but less often. As expected, online grocery shopping has seen a surge with one in three British households having shopped online during the pandemic.

With a growing audience of 37 million highly engaged daily readers, news brands provide supermarket brands with an audience that’s attentive to advertising and more likely to take out key campaign messages.

According to the latest IPA TouchPoints data, readers are spending 24% longer reading their print news brand during lockdown and our World Without News research revealed how the nation’s appreciation and value of journalism has increased significantly since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Using RAMetrics data, we can see that when it comes to print advertising, supermarkets are on the ball. Scoring on par with the average for ad recall (65% vs 64% for all ads), and above average across all brand and action measures such as likeability (30% vs 28% for all ads), evoking positive feelings (35% vs 30% for all ads) and prompting readers to look for more information (21% vs 16% for all ads).

The strength of supermarket print ads lies in recognition metrics as readers who notice the ads tend to be familiar with the advertiser already (branding: 61% vs 47%, familiarity: 83% vs 63% for all ads). These readers are more likely to find the brand more appealing and as a result, are more likely to recommend it to others (appeals to me: 50% vs 40%, recommend: 43% vs 37% for all ads).

Traditionally, image-based advertising is more effective at altering consumer perceptions and has more of an emotional impact, whereas price-based advertising is better at prompting action. For supermarkets, image-based ads garner greater recall, but price-based ads are much more common (ad recall: 66% vs 63% for price-based ads). Data also shows that price-based ads perform well in other metrics, as readers find them easy to understand and good at conveying new information (easy to understand: 84% vs 77%, new information: 34% vs 31% for image-based ads).

Does size matter? Is bigger better? From Lumen we know that full page ads are viewed by more people and have higher dwell time vs half page ads. RAMetrics data shows that for supermarkets, when it comes to recalling ads, bigger is definitely better (ad recall: 65% vs 60% for half page ads). Half page supermarket ads on the other hand, tend to be easier to recognise as readers find the branding more effective (branding: 66% vs 75% for half page ads).

Lumen eye-tracking research also shows that adverts on the right are seen more: 94% see full page ads on right-hand pages, 89% view when on left-hand page.

RAMetrics corroborates these findings for supermarkets. We found that right-hand ads score better for attention, recognition and engagement, and they’re a lot more common than left-hand ads. Supermarket ads on the right-hand side of the newspaper are better at encouraging actions such as visiting the advertiser (36% vs 33% for left-hand side ads) and recommending the brand (47% vs 41% for left-hand side ads).

Looking at 18-34s in comparison to adults aged 35+, surprisingly, we see that the younger group score is higher than the over 35s across most of the attention and engagement measures. Young people are more likely to be paying attention to supermarket ads (ad recall: 68% vs 65%, attention: 49% vs 40% for 35+), but older readers are more likely to recognise the brand (branding: 61% vs 49%, familiarity: 83% vs 72% for 35+).

Advertising in quality environments, more specifically on news brand websites, drives greater engagement and  brand response – significantly higher than industry standards.

Eye-tracking shows that ads on news brand sites get noticed more and for longer. So how do digital news brand ads for supermarkets perform?

Our analysis shows that although supermarket ads on digital news brands aren’t as memorable as ads from other categories (ad recall: 46% vs 40% for supermarket ads) their strength – similar to their print counterparts – lies in branding and recognition metrics (familiarity: 62% vs 32% for all digital news brand ads).

News brands provide supermarket advertisers with direct access to an incredibly engaged audience in an effective and trusted environment. To maintain these exceptional levels of growth, supermarket brands will need to continue being consumer focused.

They’ve fared well so far, research from IAB UK and YouGov shows that The British public have chosen Tesco as the brand that has made the most positive contribution during the coronavirus pandemic. Closely followed by supermarkets ASDA, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

With so much uncertainty surrounding our daily lives, consumers crave clarity and reassurance, something supermarket brands clearly understand, from responding to early episodes of panic buying – remember loo rolls? To investing in their e-commerce platforms for a smoother digital customer journey and even setting aside shopping times for NHS staff and vulnerable customers.

Using the above analysis will help you create the right ad for the right audience, to ensure that supermarkets will continue to be there for customers when they need it the most.

View more RAMetrics insight

Download .PPTX (.43mb)Sector report: Supermarkets