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Does Ocado have a more diverse range than its rivals?

By Chris Elliott

Ocado announced another strong quarterly performance with Q3 sales increasing 13.1 percent, up from the 12.5 percent rise recorded in the first half of the year (Independent). The retailer had previously noted that while order sizes were declining, shoppers were ordering more frequently. Q3’s results backed this up; with the average order size declining by 1.2 percent year-on-year while the number of orders increased 16 percent (y-o-y).

In its half-year results presentation in July, Ocado highlighted its extensive range as one of the key factors in improving its customer proposition. It called out it’s Harvey Nichols range, as well The Garlic Farm brand (which won its 2017 Britain’s Next Top Supplier competition) – none of these brands were listed in any other the other major supermarkets.

Assortment of the snacking category

The snacking category shows a significant change in shopper purchasing behaviour. According to a recent report from The Guardian, sales of crisps fell for the third year running while popcorn is now “Britain’s fastest-growing grocery product”.

Using Brand View Assortment we have looked at the breakdown of the snacking category by sub-category and the branded/own label split.

Ocado had the greatest number of Snacking products of the retailers analysed; with more than double that of Morrisons and 9.2 percent more than second-placed Tesco. Ocado had the greatest number of products in five of the nine snacking sub-categories. Tesco had the greatest number of products in the Confectionery, Cakes and Cookies, Crisps and Cereal Bars sub-categories ahead of Ocado.

We can see branded items are where Ocado had significantly more products than its rivals; 27.6 percent more items than Tesco. It, however, has a fewer number of Own Label snacking products than all of the retailers analysed, with the exception of Morrisons.

Ocado had the greatest number of Popcorn listings of the retailers analysed with 104 products, ahead of Asda which had 71. Ocado listed significantly more Propercorn products than any of its rivals, it had almost double the number of listings of nearest rival Tesco.

Ocado also have more listings of Metcalfe’s, Tyrrells and Joe and Seph’s Popcorn than its rivals. However, Ocado had fewer Butterkist listings than Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco and fewer Own Label listings than every retailer but Sainsbury’s, which listed no Own Label Popcorn products (ready-made popcorn)

Ocado was also the only retailer to stock the Willy Chase’s popcorn products, which it introduced halfway through 2017.

Using Brand View Pricing History we have looked at the number of products in the Crisps and Popcorn categories over the last year.

In spite of Crisps sales falling for the third consecutive year, all of the retailers analysed (except Tesco), increased the number of Crisps listings across the year. Walkers predictably had the greatest number of new listings. The Baked sub-brand was one of the brands that Walkers had the most new listings of, this is representative of a wider trend of healthier Crisps alternatives being introduced to the market. Popchips, Off The Eaten Path and Eat Real all also had a significant number of new listings throughout the year.

Tesco was the only retailer to reduce its Crisps range over the year. Kettle Chips and Tyrrells both had 12 more items delisted than they had newly listed; the greatest reduction of the brands analysed. Real Crisps have also been a casualty of this range rationalisation, with its total number of listings falling from 15 to 6.

Looking at the Popcorn category, it was only Asda and Ocado that increased the number Popcorn lines throughout the year. Propercorn had the greatest number of new listings in Asda and Ocado. Metcalfe’s had 12 new listings across the retailers analysed – however, they also had 24 products delisted in the same time period. Butterkist had the second greatest number of delists with ten.

Despite the growing popularity of Popcorn, only two of the retailers analysed (Asda and Ocado), have increased their popcorn range over the last year. While Tesco’s reduction in Popcorn products could be explained by its focus on range rationalisation, it also significantly reduced its Crisps range. Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose reductions could hint at an alternate strategy in the Snacking category.

All three retailers increased their Crisps range, with healthier alternatives featuring prominently as new listings. This suggests these retailers see more demand in this sub-category than Popcorn. Ocado and Asda both significantly increased their number of Popcorn listings over the last year, and now have the first, and second most, Popcorn listings of the retailer analysed; highlighting that these retailers are trying capitalise on the increasing demand.

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