Physical availability and brand size

Posted by Oliver Koll on Jan 18, 2018

In FMCG, brands rely on retailers for their physical availability. To understand the relationship between availability and brand size we examine physical presence of national brands at the top ten retailers in 8 countries:

  • A typical number 1 brand in a category is available in 8 out of ten retailers, number three brands can be found in six and number five brands in five. No number one brand is available in less than 7 of the top 10 retailers.
  • At the extremes, a third of all national brands is listed in less than five retailers, and 1 in 5 can be found in 9 or 10 retailers.
  • It is worth noting that 5% of number one brands are in less than half of the top 10 retailers. These top brands manage to reach many buyers via direct sales channels or specialized retailers like drug stores.
  • We find little difference between categories: The average top national brand can be found at 8 out of 10 retailers in every category type (food, beverages, household and personal care).

High levels of physical presence are a necessary but insufficient path for reaching many buyers. For example, 40% of non-top 5 brands are listed in half or more of the top ten retailers. Clearly the size of each retailer matters and more importantly whether the brand can leverage this level of distribution by providing meaningful value to shoppers.

*Analysis covers 2016 data on retailer listings for Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, UK and the US, 5559 brands.