The power season

With the Christmas run-in just around the corner what should retailers know about developments, trends and merchandising in the batteries market?

BATTERY sales are growing but it can be difficult, though not impossible, for c-stores to grab the benefit, according to Paul Clarke, sales and marketing director for UK batteries and hardware division at Spectrum Brands, which handles Varta batteries.

varta-sept-16-highenergy_aa_bli44“The overall volume of battery sales is up, driven largely by grocery and discount retail, where promotional packs and multi-buy deals continue to offer a compelling proposition,” he said.

“However, as an impulse-driven purchase with high potential profit margin, batteries are also a powerful opportunity for the independent and convenience sectors.

“The battery sector is incredibly competitive and most brands offer tiers of power to suit the needs of different devices. Where space is no object, retailers can provide a comprehensive selection of brands, battery sizes, power levels and price points. However, often, consumers can feel overwhelmed by this choice. Understanding what each cell can do, as well as the demands of your local community, is essential for developing a sales strategy that works.    

“For many consumers knowledge of batteries is limited to the main sizes, which is to be expected for a product that is only purchased two or three times a year. 

“According to the latest data from European Portable Battery Association, AA and AAA alkaline batteries remain the most popular and make up 60% of all batteries used in the UK.  Extending to include 9v, C & D sizes will meet the demands of most consumers.

varta-sept-16-maxtech_aa_bli412“For independents with a little more space, there is also a growing market for button cells. These coin-shaped batteries are used in an increasing variety of devices, including hearing aids, fitness monitors, watches and car keys.”

At Duracell UK associate marketing director Christina Turner said: “The category has been showing strong performance levels recently, with 3% value growth. Duracell remains the category leader, holding a market share of 51%.

“Every household needs batteries, but very few people go to the store with batteries on their shopping list.  That’s why it’s more important than ever to have multiple visible sites for batteries around the store as purchases are often made on impulse.”

At Energizer, brand manager Eva Jacobs said: “The AA primary battery is the number-one selling battery in the independent channel, accounting for 51% of total primary battery sales. Over 74% of these sales are in the four-pack format.

“With limited stock in store most convenience and independent retailers will sell the smallest packs of batteries – tending towards  four-packs.

sh-torch-flashlight-on-black-background“For a fuller range we recommend also carrying a stock of miniature and speciality batteries, which account for 9.1% of the total battery category.”

Christmas isn’t the only late-year festival to boost battery sales, Halloween and Bonfire Night also represent significant selling opportunities, she said.

And there are, she suggested, things that convenience retailers can do to boost sales.

“Sales are increasing in stores which follow the principles of battery merchandising:

Ensuring availability of key pack sizes – AA, AAA, 9V, C, 2032, LR44 and D Cells.

Offering value to consumers via promotion or extra free packs, giving consumers reason to buy.

Using secondary locations to sell batteries and remind people you sell batteries.”

52% of unplanned sales are attributed to secondary locations such as at the checkout or in areas such as torches, health & beauty, baby and household cleaning products, she added.