Topics & themes

Research on advertising’s larger topics and themes from audience attention to measuring effectiveness.

Sector report: Supermarkets

Over the last few years we have seen shopping habits evolve, be it due to self-service tills, contactless payments or online shopping. Likewise supermarket retailers have been successfully diversifying their offerings, by dipping their toes into other products and services such as telecoms, non-grocery retail (clothes, homeware etc.) and even finance, however food produce remains at the heart of the supermarket.

According to the latest TGI Clickstream survey, 17% of main shoppers now buy groceries online at least once a week; but in-store shopping remains strong. PwC reports that 70% of shoppers still prefer to make their grocery purchases in store.

We know from our How people buy research that grocery purchases are neither urgent nor planned for most people; newsbrands can a trigger a journey start and shape perceptions because readers are semi-consciously absorbing information on products, brands and retailers before they enter the purchase funnel.

As such, newspapers continue to be a strong advertising medium for supermarket brands. Benchmarketing’s analysis of econometrics models show that adding print newsbrands to the media mix in the supermarket category improves overall campaign revenue return on investment (RROI) by a factor of 2.8.

Using RAMetrics data, we can see that when it comes to print advertising, supermarkets are on the ball. Despite scoring slightly below the average for ad recall (65% vs 70% for all ads), supermarket ads redeem themselves by scoring above average across all brand and action measures such as likeability (35% vs. 28% for all ads), evoking positive feelings (38% vs 30% for all ads) and prompting readers to visit the advertisers website (16% vs 11% for all ads). Those who notice the ads for supermarkets score particularly well for familiarity (82% vs 63% for all ads) – finding them much easier to understand than most ads and also more likely to encourage purchases and recommendations.

Traditionally, we assume that image-based advertising is more effective at altering consumer perceptions and has more of an emotional impact, whereas price-based advertising is more effective at prompting action. When it comes to print advertising from supermarkets, price-based ads are much more common than image-based ads, they perform well and successfully generate more positive feelings about the brand. Plus readers find them easier to understand (55% vs 53% for image based ads) and they’re more likely to convey new information (42% vs 38% 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, full page ads are definitely noticed more, and when it comes to ad recall, bigger is definitely better (66% vs 57% for full page vs half page). Full page ads provoke more of an emotional response, they also encourage readers to make recommendations and create conversation around the brand. Half page supermarket ads on the other hand, tend to be easier to recognise as readers find the branding more effective.

Lumen eye-tracking shows that readers’ viewing is biased towards right hand pages of a spread and 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. Readers find right-hand ads for supermarkets more interesting, more likeable and easier to understand. Left-hand and right-hand ads evoke the same emotional response but have marginally different scores for action measures such as discuss (15% vs 14% for left-hand side ads) and recommend (29% vs 30% for left-hand side ads).

Next we tackled gender segmentation, because when it comes to grocery shopping, women traditionally tend to carry the weight. In fact, according to the latest NRS PADD data, a whopping 85% of all women over 18 are classified as main shoppers, compared with only 58% of men. Given this gender bias, it’s not surprising that female readers are more likely to notice ads for supermarket ads (68% vs 64% for men). They respond more positively across all brand and action measures in comparison to men, with the exception of ‘familiarity’, where both genders scored equally.

We looked at two age groups, 18-34s and adults aged 35+. Surprisingly, the younger group score significantly higher than the over 35s across all brand measures. They are more likely to be paying attention to supermarket ads (ad recall: 70% vs 65% for 35+), and are more likely to recognise the brands (branding: 35% vs 30% for 35+, familiarity: 56% vs 54% for 35+), they also are more likely to be engaged (appeals to me: 51% 31% for 35+) and take action (visit advertiser: 31% vs 18% for 35+).

Finally, how do the supermarket print ads stack up against the averages for print ads across all categories, specifically for 18-34s? As with the total readership, supermarket ads have a lower impact (ad recall: 70% vs 83% for all categories) and similarly score lower across most brand measures, however they encourage 18-34s to look for more information (34% vs 27% for all ads), create conversation (discuss: 26% vs 24% for all ads) and they also are more likely to find them beneficial (benefit: 36% vs 29% for all ads).

View more RAMetrics insight

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

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