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24 Nov
With only three days to go, the biggest shopping day of the year is drawing upon us. Overtaking Boxing Day as the day where British shoppers go bargain hunting, Black Friday 2015 is going to be, according to retail experts, the biggest shopping day in UK history with online sales expecting to surpass £1bn. An impressive figure, this would be nearly £200m more than last year, where UK shoppers spent £1 million every three minutes on Black Friday. 
In a recent blog post, we talked about how the UK is the e-commerce capital of the EU with 79 percent of Britons making an online purchase in the past year. With events such as Black Friday and the fact it is so much bigger in the UK than elsewhere in Europe, it will solidify the UK’s place at the top of the rankings. The next biggest market is Germany, where online sales are expected to bring in £281m, a fraction of what is expected here in the UK.
James Miller, Senior Retail Consultant at Experian Marketing Services, said: “The 2015 Christmas period is on track to be another record year for online retail in the UK. We expect that Black Friday will continue to break new ground for online shopping, passing the billion pound mark for the first time.”

Who’s in?

Amazon, Tesco, John Lewis, Curry’s, Argos and Sainsbury’s, to name a few, have all confirmed they will be taking part in this year’s Black Friday event. These retailers along with other major retailers have already started to promote their deals ahead of Black Friday to get hungry shoppers warmed up. However, due to the ugly scenes at retail outlets last year, some retailers have bowed out with Asda being the most notable absence. Seen as the company that introduced Black Friday to the UK back in 2013, Asda has said that due to customer feedback, it will not be participating in this year’s event. As an alternative, it will be offering savings of £26m across its products throughout November and December, rather than drastically reducing the prices of big-ticket items. Our research suggests that the products sitting atop of shopping lists include an array of big-ticket items such as TV’s and fridge-freezers, electrical goods on all scales, clothing and footwear, makeup, books and media, toys, homeware and video games.


However, amidst the allure of bargain big-ticket items and the positive rhetoric around record-breaking revenue, it begs the question, what are the negative aspects of this one-day sales frenzy? One considerable factor is that last year’s Black Friday caused a massive knock on effect over trading over the Christmas period. Figures show that 2014 saw the weakest December sales growth since 2008 at just 1 percent and footfall is expected to be 8.8 percent lower on Boxing Day than it was last year. Furthermore, the amount of impulse purchases made by shoppers due to low prices could result in a startlingly high number of items being returned. Research suggests that these returns alone could cost online retailers around £180m!
With that said, having the popular Black Friday event in the retail calendar has retailers using Competitor Monitor to gain insight into competitor activity. Our service is helping them understand more about pricing and promotional trends, offering full visibility and the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Why not get in touch with us today to find out how you can get ahead or take our tour to find out more!
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10 Nov

It’s that time of the year again! With Christmas only seven weeks away, discussions in retail circles are around the ‘must have’ toy of the season. Historically, if you were to bet on this, a technological gadget would have most likely spring to mind. However, things are shaping up to be slightly different this year with high-tech gadgetry being shunned in favour of more traditional toys.

The Toy Retailers Association have recently revealed the 2015 DreamToys list, a list believed to be the twelve must have toys this year. Decided on by a panel of selectors made up of leading UK toy retailers, the list is heavily laden with toys with a traditional-style of play. A large part of the list is focused around movie-related toys and one movie in particular, Star Wars. With three of the twelve predicted top selling toys in the list related to Star Wars, it has more than any other brand.

Gary Grant, Chairman of the DreamToys committee, said: “2015 is going to be a vintage year for toys. Strong entertainment brands like Frozen, Thunderbirds and Star Wars are appearing alongside creative brands like Little Live Pets and classic evergreens such as Lego, ever more stimulating playsets for under-fives such as Toot-Toot or Paw Patrol and family games like Pie Face.”

He added: “While the blockbuster licences may steal the headlines, it is exciting to see innovation throughout the list with manufacturers successfully combining this with traditional play in, for example, the IDO3D craft set, and Shopkins has become the new craze of the year, embracing all that is good about toys.”

So now the list has been released, it begs the question as to what effect it will have on the toy market? UK retailers hoping the products included in the DreamToys list will lead to the market growing by £100m in the run up to Christmas. Our research confirms that the UK's toy market is worth over £3bn and with an average of £300 spent annually on toys for each child up to the age of 11. Taking this into consideration, it will be interesting to see how the festive period plays out for retailers and whether a battle will ensue on the high street. With ASDA only just announcing its early Christmas Big Brand Toy Sale, which includes toys from the DreamToys list, some may say that the fuse has been lit.

We at Competitor Monitor help global retailers monitor prices and promotional trends thus outsmarting the market. Our fundamental aim is to help the world’s leading companies to stay competitive so why not get in touch today or alternatively take our tour to find out more! 

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05 Oct

According to the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK is now the e-commerce capital of the European Union (EU).

With 79 percent of Britons making an online purchase in the past year, the UK is far above the EU average of 50 percent. Other EU countries sharing the UK’s enthusiasm for e-commerce and boasted similar figures are Scandinavian countries including Denmark, Norway and Sweden with figures of 78 percent, 77 percent and 75 percent respectively. Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Germany also followed the trend making it into the 70 percent club.

However, at the other end of the scale, Romania, Bulgaria and Italy lagged far behind the EU average and held the lowest percentage of online shoppers at 10 percent, 17 percent and 22 percent respectively.

Latest figures also show that in the space of five years, between 2008 and 2013, e-commerce sales in the UK grew by a staggering 66 percent. Experts suggest the reason for this astonishing gain is due to the boundaries between online and offline shopping continuing to blur reflecting a growing shift towards Click & Collect services.

Julie Deane, Managing Director at The Cambridge Satchel Company, commented: “These days it is possible to reach customers in parts of the world a UK brand would not have had reach – total accessibility, global reach – the digital platform allows us to know our customers like never before.”

Moreover, additional figures released by the ONS suggest that e-commerce represents 20 percent of UK business turnover and exceeds the EU average of 15 percent. The UK’s share has increased from 16 percent from 2009 but still trails far behind the Republic of Ireland which sits at 52 percent.

So what do we make of the statistics? Well, they make for some interesting reading! With such shifts in consumer behaviour and the growth of e-commerce globally, you can’t help but think that online retail will only get bigger. We at Competitor Monitor help global retailers monitor prices and promotional trends thus outsmarting the market. Our fundamental aim is to help the world’s leading companies to stay competitive so why not get in touch today or alternatively take our tour to find out more!

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14 Sep
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03 Sep
At a time when the UK is battling against an obesity epidemic, (with two-thirds of men and women classed as being overweight, the sportswear market is booming.

Compared to 2010 when the UK sportswear market was worth £4.62bn, last year this number grew substantially to reach £5.91bn, as British consumers go crazy for brands incorporating fashion, fitness and wearable tech. Looking ahead to 2019, a report from Key Note expects sportswear sales to hit £8.65bn if current rates continue.
Female fitness on the rise
Key Note points to the increasing diversity of sports classes and fashionable, tech-focused sportswear as a reason for the particular spike in women’s contribution to this trend.

With countless Instagram accounts dedicated to hashtags focused around #strongnotskinny, #cleaneating and #fitspo, millennial women are more exposed to and obsessed with celebrities leading this aspirational lifestyle. This demographic strive to be like them, hitting the gym and watching what they eat.

At Competitor Monitor we urge sports/fashion brands to sit up and take into account this rapidly growing market and expand their ranges for women. Female-only fitness wear brands such as Sweaty Betty are popping up everywhere, so it is worthwhile to consider how prices of items differ between competitors and identify where there could be a gap.

It’s not just the products, but also about how the female fitness and sportswear trends are marketed. Nike, Puma and Reebok are pioneering the way in terms of promoting a girl-friendly focus, with Reebok aiming to smash the 30% of women who are targeted by major sports brands.
Sportswear goes geek
Thanks to Ralph Lauren debuting a smart shirt for athletes last year, featuring built-in sensors that track the wearer’s movement and heart-rate, Key Note predicts that smart fitness clothing to take off massively.

Just as mobile phones and other gadgets are constantly developing, brands are pushing the boundaries when it comes to the capabilities of clothing. While Nike’s Nike+ is able to accrue vast amounts of consumer data, Adidas recently bought Runtastic for £154m, a sign that tuning into the connected runner is the way forward.
Stay competitive
So, with demand and availability of female-friendly and tech-heavy sportswear on the rise, at Competitor Monitor it’s our job to be monitoring this extremely lucrative market.

Want to see what your competitors are doing in this area? Let us help you to stay ahead of the game and get in touch to see how we can help.
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01 Sep
The UK has been subjected to cooler weather this summer which has unfortunately affected sales of BBQ related products, as we discussed on a recent blog post. However, it seems that fruits that are synonymous with summer are still reigning champions and experiencing a healthy growth in sales.
Demand increasing for bountiful berries
British Summer Fruits observes that sales of berries will collectively hit £1 billion this year, a huge jump from £300 million in 2004. The industry body, which represents 98% of berries sold in supermarkets, has also seen record sales of raspberries from all countries, up 16% from the previous year’s £158 million.

Sales of blueberries are up by nearly a third and blackberries 6% in the year to mid-July. Interestingly, demand for the British classic, strawberries, has only seen a 0.6% increase year on year; they been in the limelight a little too long?

Findings from Waitrose also show a similar trend, with berries and cherries being the ‘favourites of the fruit aisle’, seeing sales rising by 30% and 31% respectively. Meanwhile, discount supermarket chains like Lidl and Aldi have also seen a rise in sales of fruit, with the latter seeing sales of strawberries increase by a fifth year on year.
Satisfying the health conscious trend
We’re blending and juicing more than ever, with John Lewis selling one Nutribullet every four minutes!. Berries seem to be the favourite smoothie flavour with their low sugar content and wide variety.

With summer being the best time of year to buy the freshest berries, and with the ‘clean eating’, smoothie drinking trend sweeping across the UK, it’s easy to see why demand is so high.

At Competitor Monitor, we also think it could be that we’re becoming more educated on the generous health benefits of these colourful fruits, particularly with blueberries being hailed as a “superfood” by many nutritionists.
Where Competitor Monitor comes in
Seasonal and food trends aren’t always predictable, but at Competitor Monitor we can help you to monitor prices and outsmart the market. Our aim is to help the world’s leading companies to stay competitive, whatever the trend. Why not take a tour to find out more?
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24 Aug
Brick-and-mortar stores are set to see a wave of shoppers stocking up on back-to-school essentials. A poll by FatWallet (June 2015) found that 91% of US parents plan to shop in-store for school items, compared to 37% of those who chose online shopping

So what is it that people choosing to buy in shops rather than online? A study by Deloitte (via eMarketer) has found that US parents planned to purchase the majority of back-to-school items in-store rather than online.
It seems that technology and wearables are most likely to be bought online, particularly by students, eMarketer found. A mixture of both shopping in stores and digitally seems to be a trend for items like clothes and accessories; consumers may like to shop around for the best deals and offers before purchasing.
Although the back-to-school purchasing started at the beginning of summer, shops should expect to see heavy traffic in the coming weeks as the start of September draws near. eMarketer found that 54% of parents claimed they would complete shopping related to school less than one month before the start of the new school year.
Technology reigns over notepads and pens
A recent study by Twitter has shown that it’s not just your standard pens, pads and notebooks that today’s students will be filling their backpacks with. Technologies that were once a luxury such as tablets, laptops and headphones are now commonplace in the classroom.

Twitter’s findings showed that many of their younger users are saving some of their summer job wages to buy their own tech products with 66% of teens and 58% of 18-25 year olds covering r the costs themselves. Headphones came out as the most wanted item for teens (40%), followed by wearable technology (32%), laptops (15%) and smartphones (15%).

Be aware of the power of recommendations from other Twitter users too, as highlighted by the study: 47% of millennials said tweets from those who have already purchased a product are an important factor when it comes to deciding what brand to go for.

The appearance of a product also plays an important part of the decision making process, with 44% of teens citing product images as key in swaying their decision. Cost, of course is an important factor but less than half of those asked said that offers and deals mattered when making their decisions.
Spending & Decision Power of Mums
Twitter’s research and a 2014 Deloitte study highlight how Mums hold the power when it comes to fulfilling teen and young peoples’’ back-to-school wishlists, with laptops being the most wanted item for both age groups. 69% of mums say they check Twitter at least once a day, partly looking out for information on the best deals to help them select the best retailer to purchase from.

At Competitor Monitor, we are also interested in how big-name brands change their prices over time, all fighting for consumers’ attention and money.

If you are a retailer, this is where we can come in and help you to monitor prices and outsmart the market.
Take a tour and find out more.
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18 Aug
In one of our recent blog posts, we explored the findings of trends and searches based on the topic of ‘summer’ from Google. The results were fascinating and insightful, highlighting what goes on in the minds of Brit as we endure the warmer months.
BBQ season: A wash-out
They say that if you don’t like the weather in Britain, wait a minute. And it would seem that in those rare minutes of sunshine, us Brits rush out to have a BBQ with our nearest and dearest.

Unfortunately though, this year, those bursts of sunshine have been few and far between, which has affected retail spending. Despite shops cutting prices on BBQ essentials to try and get consumers to spend more, it seems the wet weather has truly dampened our spirits and we aren’t even trying to get our grill on..

According to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), UK retail spending increased by only 2.2% in July, compared to the same period last year, which saw a 2.9% rise in July. This slow growth rate also extends between May and July: food sales were only up 0.1% during this time, compared with non-food sales at 3.7%.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of food industry body IGD, commented on this to City AM newspaper:
“Food and drink sales are particularly influenced by the weather at this time of year. July began with a heatwave and strong food sales but the rest of the month was colder and wetter than average and July’s overall performance disappointed after a run of more encouraging months.”
Not all rain clouds and dampened spirits
On the other side, figures from Nielsen show a slightly more positive picture, with the soft drinks category seeing a +3.9% rise in year-on-year sales, with beers, wines & spirits seeing the strongest category growth (+3.1%) aside from general merchandise (+4.6%).

Meanwhile, fruit and vegetables returned to positive sales growth (+0.2%), although packaged grocery and dairy experienced the biggest declines, -4.2% and -3.8% respectively. Nielsen also released stats showing that our of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets, Morrisons sales increased 0.1% year while Asda sales were down 3.2% and the Co-Operative returned to year-on-year growth for the first time in four periods.

However we look at it, these statistics are a reminder of just how dependent retailer and category performance, along with traditional summer events, are on the weather, in the short term.
Stay on top of trends, whatever the weather
Nothing can predict or outsmart Mother Nature, but at Competitor Monitor we CAN help you to monitor prices and outsmart the market. Our aim is to help the world’s leading companies to stay competitive, whatever the trend - take a tour to find out more.
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11 Aug
The sixth series of Great British Bake Off (GBBO) has once again proved to be a recipe for success, with the first episode of the series pulling in 9.3million viewers, that’s 43% of all TV watchers.  

Up by almost 2 million viewers compared to last year, these figures highlight just how popular the show is in the UK, fuelling the growing desire for all things food and baking.
Satisfying our hunger
At Competitor Monitor, we wondered what impact this cultural phenomenon is having on the demand and cost of culinary items.

Annual foodie dates in the calendar, such as Pancake Day, Easter and Christmas, have always seen a rise in the sale of baking utensils, but stats from shopping insight consultancy, IRI, show this has surged during every season of the show as it continues to grow in popularity.

[Source: This Is Money]
Although Tesco saw a 30% rise in demand for cake decorations during GBBO last year and has forecasted that this will be as high as 40% this season.

Interestingly, items such as flour, sugar and cooking chocolate saw a slight dip in price AFTER the series ended, according to supermarket data. So you may want to to keep that in mind and wait until after the finale to bake to take advantage of the cheaper deals!
A nation of bakers
According to IRI, sales of baking products have risen by a dramatic 62% since 2007, but this has also seen the price of baking products also increase, mostly driven by the higher costs of dried fruit and wheat.

Despite rising costs, the trend for baking hasn’t slowed down, as people enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and producing homemade meals and treats for their families and friends.

Either way, as Tesco homebaking buyer Darren Atherton commented on the subject, this can only be a positive thing:
“The Great British Bake Off is the biggest thing to have happened to homebaking since cake mixes first appeared nearly half a century ago and has inspired a whole new generation of younger bakers.”

But with so many people baking, what about shop-bought cakes? Retail analyst Mintel found that sales of manufactured cakes have dropped in favour of homemade, though if you make it yourself, it’s practically a meal!
Monitor price, stay competitive
Along with enjoying soggy bottoms and cheeky innuendos from the tent, we at Competitor Monitor will be watching the prices of popular baking products to see how prices fluctuate throughout season 6.

In the meantime, let Competitor Monitor help YOU to improve price competitiveness and profits. We monitor thousands of sites across the globe and over 20 million unique products across various industries, from FMCG to lifestyle - get in touch with us today.
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04 Aug
It can be hard to imagine a time before Google. How did we find out otherwise unknown information before the global search engine came into fruition and organised the world’s information, making it universally accessible?

Whatever the time of year or occasion, millions flock to the site, but with summer being so unpredictable in the UK, at Competitor Monitor it got us thinking about the mindset of Brits and what they are asking and thinking about throughout the warmer months.

Thanks to Google releasing insights into their search data, we have found some fascinating answers.
Fly Away, Let’s Fly, Fly Away
It may come as no surprise that as we reach summer, people start to think about where to go on holiday and what to take. With swimming being one of the key activities if going abroad to a hot country, many want to know how many calories it burns, while parents are keen to know when their baby is old enough to go in the water.
Looking Good On The Beach
Just as everything in the fashion world, trends never stand still and beachwear is no different. Interestingly, micro bikinis have entered straight at the search top spot, followed by the tankini (+1,500% YOY);  high-neck bikini top (+1,100% YOY), colour block bikini (+760% YOY) and plus-size bikinis (+640% YOY).
Sunglasses have also seen a shift in styles year over year, with the searches for Polarised sunglasses , up by 45%. Aviators are proving to be a timeless choice with searches, up by 26%. It seems as well that shoppers are making the sensible choice as prescription sunglasses have seen an increase of 17% this year.
The pressure to have a golden glow when the weather calls for you to show more skin is on the minds of many in the summer months. With increasing caution around the risks of skin cancer, it seems that faking it is the winning route Fake tanning saw a 32% increase of searches (including ‘best fake tan’), while searches for spray tanning and ‘fake bakes’ were up by 8% and 3% respectively.  
Trends Over Time
As Brits we’re known for our surge of enthusiasm the moment the sun comes out as it means BBQ time and swimming! Have a look below from Google’s data, showing how trends for both have changed over time, in correlation with the hottest temperatures. For instance, searches for ‘BBQ’ peaked on 17th July, the hottest day in 2014.
A Lesson for Retailers
So, what can all of these insights tell us? Statistics highlighting trends reflect constantly changing behaviours of the ever-evolving consumer. For brands,  marketers and retailers, being reactive to such trends is absolutely key in terms of maximising opportunities or ensuring your prices are competitive in the market..

That’s where Competitor Monitor comes in. We monitor thousands of sites across the globe and over 20 million unique products across various industries, from lifestyle to FMCG. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you to improve price competitiveness and profits.
[Photos sourced from The Drum.]
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04 Aug
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22 Jul
Last week we reported on Amazon’s Prime Day, which was met with mixed opinions across Twitter, with many Tweeters using the hashtag #AmazonPrimeDay to show off the most obscure sale items they could find.
Some may argue it was more like a ‘garage sale’ than the Black Friday challenger Amazon promised to its Prime Customers, with discounted items including chef hats, multi pack knuckle dusters, amongst other random offerings. Not that there weren’t some fantastic offers available, it just seemed that these were selling out faster than the excited buyers were expecting.
Perhaps not what consumers were expecting then, especially considering the online retailer’s claims that items in the sale had been carefully selected; Abode has reported that half of the overall social sentiment about Prime Day expressed disappointment.
Bigger Than Black Friday?
Despite the negativity directed to the flash sale, Amazon Prime Day gained the e-commerce giant a 40% boost in sales across Europe, plus a further 80% increase in the US. According to the company, the event broke sales records and exceeded Black Friday 2014 sales, which had been the biggest to date.
Here at Competitor Monitor, we’ve had a look at the breakdown of statistics released from Amazon in terms of its ‘success’:
  • Worldwide order growth increased by 266% year over year
  • Customers ordered 34.4 million items across eligible countries, breaking all Black Friday records with 398 items ordered per second
  • Order growth was 18% higher worldwide than Black Friday 2014
  • Unit sales were up by 300%
  • US daily sales were up 93% year over year
  • Amazon’s EU daily sales were up by 53% year over year
Popular Products
We managed to find out just how many units of some of the best sellers were sold:
  • 56,000 Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy sets
  • 51,000 Bose headphones
  • 47,000 TVs (an increase of 1,300% year over year)
  • 28,000 Rubbermaid container sets
  • 24,000 pressure cookers
  • 14,000 iRobot Roomba 595 vacuum robots
  • 12,000 Fifty Shades of Grey Blu-Rays
  • 10,000 Meguiar’s X2020 Supreme Shine microfiber towels
So, was Prime Day A Success?
It is worth remembering that the brand’s sales event was only available to subscribers who pay £79 a year for the Amazon Prime service.
However, the initial goal of Prime Day was to convert shoppers to subscription customers, rather than just simply selling more merchandise. Revealing that more new members tried Amazon Prime than on any other day in Amazon’s history, we see this as an indication of a promotion day working pretty well for Amazon!
In fact, the e-commerce giant has confirmed that it will host a Prime Day again: “Going into this, we weren’t sure whether Prime Day would be a one-time thing or if it would become an annual event. After yesterday’s results, we’ll definitely be doing this again,” said Greg Greeley, VP at Amazon Prime in a statement.
At Competitor Monitor, we think it will be interesting to see how the contagious nature of sales events like Amazon’s Prime Day will impact on the e-commerce space. While this might be welcomed by consumers looking for cheaper deals, for manufacturers, this could mean being forced to offer unrealistic prices in order to compete.
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16 Jul
From its humble beginnings as the original online bookstore to international tech giant, the company is claiming that Prime Day will be its biggest sales day in its history, even overtaking Black Friday. That’s both a milestone and a bold statement as the global ecommerce business celebrates its 20th birthday.
Here’s how the stats compare: While Amazon said it sold more that 5.5 million items (64 per second) on Black Friday, it expects Prime Day, taking place from midnight on Wednesday 15th July for 24 hours, to be bigger as a result of offering thousands more deals.
The catch is that Prime Day is only open to Amazon Prime subscribers in the UK, US, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France. A priority delivery service launched in 2007, subscribers pay £79 a year for unlimited next-day delivery and have access to the company’s own services, including its TV streaming facility, Prime Instant Video.
Slashing Prices To Benefit Customers
Amazon will be running six Deals of the Day, running throughout the time period, subject to availability, as well as Lightning Deals, running every 10 minutes.
The retailer already runs this type of promotion every day but says there will be thousands on Prime Day.
These will run for a fixed period of time, with a finite number of products available.
Categorised products on offer:
  • Amazon merchandise
  • Laptops and PCs
  • Gaming
  • Smartwatches/wearables
  • Cameras
  • TVs/monitors
  • Books/DVDs
  • Headphones/HiFi
Alongside Prime Day festivities, Amazon will also include multiple sweepstakes and giveaways; for instance, users have the chance to win prizes while listening to any song on Prime Music during the event.
Prime Day makes an interesting offering as a benefit of being a Prime member, with further features expected to be added to this service over time, according to Christopher North, Amazon’s UK managing director.
Long Lasting Amazon Prime Loyalty?
What about for those who only want to get a cheap deal? Amazon lets new members try the service for 30 days, for free, meaning you can get immediate access to Prime Day discounts. If they decide against the service, they can easily cancel their subscription during the trial for no extra cost. This could affect the level of new subscribers Amazon is expecting to get on board, but loyalty could override that issue.
Although Amazon has dominated the ecommerce industry since its public launch in 2007, analysts have expressed their concern that it will struggle to improve its earnings outlook for the remainder of the year. However, considering that shoppers can immerse themselves within Amazon’s offerings, from listening to music to food shopping, Prime could potentially attract and forge stronger ties with advertisers in order to survive.
Whatever the outcome, at Competitor Monitor we are interested to see the results following the launch of Prime Day and whether it is as successful as the company hopes, and if the promotional event significantly expands its base of Prime subscribers.
Look out for our follow-up feature, focusing on the outcome of the promotion and our own price comparison analysis on some of the key products.
At Competitor Monitor, every day we monitor millions of products across the world for our clients, improving price competitiveness and profits. Get in touch today to find out how we can help YOU to outsmart the market.
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03 Apr
In the run up to Easter, the price wars between supermarkets have already began - to the point where shops are running out. Selling from as little as 99p, this means they are cheaper on a pound-to-weight ratio than normal chocolate bars, and retailers have been quick to jump in and capitalise on this.
A time when chocoholics can spoil themselves and indulge their sweet tooth, the competition to offer the cheapest price for Easter eggs is so strong that discounts have encouraged an unexpected level demand. The result? A potential nationwide shortage. Asda have stopped selling eggs to online shoppers due to a shortage of stock, while Tesco ran out of several brands of chocolate eggs, including Cadbury’s, Nestlé and Lindt.
How Prices Compare
We at Competitor Monitor have had a closer look at some of the costs and the effects this is having on the availability of the confectionery.
The average price for Easter eggs across the top four supermarkets have been reduced by an average of 9.7%, from £4.40 in 2014 to £3.97 this year, according to The Grocer:
  • On average, Morrisons cut the price of branded eggs by 7.3%, forcing the other supermarkets to take its lead.
  • Prices rose at Tesco and Sainsbury’s by 2.6% and 3.3.% on average respectively
  • Costs decreased by 0.4% for Asda.
Further statistics and price changes include:
  • Cadbury’s, the major driver of growth across Easter last year, are 4.4% cheaper in supermarket chains.
  • Kitkat and Smarties (both Nestlé) are down by 4.2%.
  • Own-brand eggs are 6% cheaper on average.
  • The Co-Operative has launched its own line of Easter eggs, available at £5 each.
  • Thorntons is selling Easter hampers for half price online.
We found it interesting at Competitor Monitor that even food brands you wouldn’t think would give Easter much thought are jumping on the bandwagon. Marmite and Pot Noodle eggs have hit the shelves at the major supermarkets and luxury retailer Fortnum and Mason even created a dark chocolate scotch egg with venison inside, a nod to their invention of the iconic snack. 
Knock-on Effect For Other Industries
We predict that prices won’t stay low for long. Cocoa prices have continued to rise over the last few years due to demand for confectionery increasing in emerging markets. Not only that, but the supermarket price wars also resulted in the price of milk to be pushed below the cost of bottled water.
As a result this has angered dairy farmers who blame supermarkets for pressuring them to reduce their income. As we know very well at Competitor Monitor when keeping track of prices across various industries; when one is in favour of customer’s wallets, another one has to suffer.
Wondering how price monitoring can help YOU to outsmart the market? We monitor thousands of sites across the globe and over 20 million unique products. Get in touch with Competitor Monitor today!
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11 Feb
Valentine’s Day has become an occasion not just about love and romance, but a lucrative opportunity for retailers to take advantage of. People are expected to spend; shops are expected to offer deals and promote here, there and everywhere.
Although only 38% of customers said they were actually planning on getting involved in Valentine’s Day celebrations, those who do celebrate the occasion go all out, with a third of those involved intending to spend more by trading up to pricier products, according to shopper marketing agency, Savvy.
Polarised Spending Behaviours
At Competitor Monitor, we found it interesting that this annual celebration isn’t just about splashing cash; customers are spending at polarised ends of the scale, choosing either the top or bottom end, but remember – it’s the thought that counts! For budget retailers this is excellent news.
As well as increasing their offering of products, providing more choice for the customer when competing against other brands and products, they are also focusing more on execution of in-store events, with the aim of enticing shoppers to buy and spend more.
Those who don’t take the day too seriously, or can’t (or won’t) splash the cash, are turning to the budget supermarkets where they can pick up essentially the same products at a fraction of the price.
On the other end of the scale, high-end retailers don’t need to worry. Many customers are seeking luxury goods and intend to dig deep to impress their other half. Sales of premium chocolate at Selfridges have been up by 30%, while sales of Pierre Herme Macarons have seen a 463% increase year on year.
In fact, MasterCard’s annual trend index has shown that spending on premium products has increased 13% year on year.
Battle of the Brands
A dozen roses has caused a supermarket price war to break out, which sees Interflora offering a bunch ranging from a pricey £139.99 to £44.99 compared to £3 from Lidl - an offer even undercutting its rival Aldi, charging £5 for its cheapest bunch. Meanwhile Tesco, Asda and Morrisons have slashed the price of their cheapest red roses to £5 for 12, while Sainsbury’s is offering a dozen Fairtrade ones for £7.
While this offers shoppers a fantastic price range, from the lowest to the more extortionate, this price war isn’t good new for the independent florists, who can’t compete within the market. According to the British Florist Association, events like Valentine’s Day and the focus on flowers could mean that 8,000 florists across the country could disappear as a result of competition.
Impact of Day on Sales
We think it’s worth noting that this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday. What affect could this have on spending? Mastercard UK and Ireland president, Mark Barnett has said, “This will mean shoppers have more time on their hands to cook at home - that will undoubtedly benefit supermarkets.
“We know from our research that shoppers’ biggest expectation of their supermarket will be the availability of Valentine’s Day meal deals, mentioned by 39%.”
Perhaps consumers are intending to stay in and dine at home this year, as opposed to spending large amounts on a posh meal out with their other half. In terms of what’s available for those planning to stay in, Morrisons are offering a deal of one main, two sides, one dessert and either a bottle of wine or box of chocolates for £15 and M&S have included a box of chocolates to their regular ‘Dine in for Two’ but increased the price from £10 to £20.
A Lucrative Occasion
Whichever way shoppers decide to go when it comes to spending for Valentine’s Day this year, Competitor Monitor predicts that the surge of last minute, in-store purchases will be made as shoppers jump on the novelty bandwagon.
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