Growing penetration is hard, even for leading brands

Posted by Oliver Koll on Mar 10, 2018

Increasing buyer numbers is the most promising avenue for brands to achieve growth. We looked at the ability of brands to attract more buyers between 2013 and 2016 for 86 categories in 30 countries:

  • More brands lost greater than 5% of category buyers than brands increasing their shopper base by the same amount.
  • In just 6% of categories the total branded offering increased its reach by more than 5%. In comparison, private label did so in 13% of categories.
  • Being big helps: 11% of all leading brands expanded their shopper base significantly, but note that this is still just 11%!
  • Not surprisingly, this number decreases for less powerful players: only 6% of all number 5 brands and 3% of all number 10 brands add an additional 5% of category buyers.
  • Compared to other regions, the US shows a lower number of brands (only 2%) that increased their share of buyers by more than 5%. US brands, however, also register a lower number of brands (9%) significantly losing buyers, compared with, for example, 25% in South America. This is an indication that in more developed markets the key players are more stable and so is shopper behavior.

Whilst leading brands are better able to add buyers, more of them also lose a large number of buyers: Flying high increases the odds of falling deep. Tapping new consumer needs or expanding into new usage situations are a constant challenge in the eternal quest to maximize the occasions for which your brand is relevant.

Countries included in the analysis: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, US