A typology of pack sizes and variety

Posted by Oliver Koll on Sep 13, 2017

Brand manufacturers and retailers are eager to meet consumers’ variety needs. Given the diversity of consumers’ tastes and preferences, offering a wide assortment increases the likelihood that consumers will find what they are looking for. Different brands, sizes, flavours/fragrances, sugar-free/diet/gluten-free, forms (e.g.powder, liquid), glass/plastic/pouches, etc. all provide variety. We looked at size and SKU variety for the average brand in different categories to understand different category positioning:

Everybody’s Darlings are categories that offer many different sizes and a lot of variety per size. Here brands aim to satisfy a wide range of different consumer needs. Examples include tea, hard cheese, or cooking sauces.

Variety Kings are categories with limited sizes but high variety per size, flavour, taste, composition or form. Examples include jam, liquid soup, salad dressings, or wet dog food.

Minimalists are categories with few pack sizes and low variety per pack size. Examples of minimalist categories are tonic water, olive oil, chocolate spread, or butter.

Size Kings include categories with many different pack sizes but limited variety per pack size. Facial tissues, instant coffee, mineral water, frozen fish, or household cleaners are typical.

Physical availability is key to category and brand development. Benchmarking your category and brand against competitors will develop an understanding of whether variety matches what consumers expect and if there are development opportunities.

Analysis is based on 2,529 brands across 86 categories sold in 2016 in Austria, France, Spain, UK and the USA.