Events key to stimulate shopper demand in 2014

After an action packed summer events calendar in 2012, featuring the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The Euro football tournament and the London Olympics, many had feared that summer 2013 would be somewhat of a let down.

However warm weather and a string British sporting victories, from Andy Murray winning Wimbledon to England retaining the Ashes, meant summer 2013 turned out to be a little more prosperous than expected for many retailers and brands. We also saw consumer confidence rise significantly over the summer months.

With the lessons from 2013 learned, it’s now time to start planning for summer 2014. The World Cup, The Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Tour De France setting off from Yorkshire each present opportunities for retailers and brands that are able to tap into the mood of the nation.

In Savvy’s recent Shopper Panel – our bi-monthly survey of a representative sample of 1,000 UK grocery shoppers – we asked shoppers how interested they expect they’ll be in each of the major sporting events taking place next year.

Interest in the World Cup, Wimbledon and The Commonwealth Games is broadly similar when combining the results of those respondents who are either ‘quite interested’ or ‘very interested’ in the events. However when focusing only on those that are ‘very interested’, the World Cup scores top – boosted considerably by intense interest among males.

It is insightful to compare these results to our similar research conducted in the run up to 2012’s events.

48% of shoppers were interested in Euro 2012, compared to 54% for next year’s World Cup.

The Murray factor has clearly boosted interest in Wimbledon, up from 45% in 2012 to 54% in 2014.

Interest in The Commonwealth Games at 54% compares to 61% for the Olympics. Around a third of shoppers say that their interest in the Commonwealth Games has increased because they enjoyed the Olympics.

Events can help stimulate shopper demand in challenging market

Despite considerable media coverage reporting an improving economic climate and rising consumer confidence, we expect 2014 will remain tough for grocery brands and retailers.

Our research suggests that the shift towards a savvier way of shopping seen during the past few years, while initiated by the economic crisis, is now engrained in culture for many and will continue even when the economy is growing faster.

Also, we observe a two speed economy where a majority of shoppers, particularly outside of London, still struggle to make ends meet and see only limited prospects for improvement in the year ahead.

The implication for retailers and brands is that they will need to continue to work hard to drive sales volumes in 2014. They need to stimulate demand by demonstrating to savvy shoppers that by spending a little extra they can add excitement or pleasure to moments throughout the year.

Events can play a key role here, as we’ve seen over recent years. 2014 is a rich year for events so brands and retailers are well advised to plan now how they can capitalise most effectively. As well as using insight to gain a deeper understanding of the role these events play in the lives of shoppers, brands and retailers need to consider execution in a multi-channel environment. Crucially, events are no longer the sole territory of superstores – indeed we suggest that some of the greatest potential event growth opportunities can be found online and in convenience.