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When did retailers start their Mother’s Day promotions?

By Chris Elliott

Following Mother’s Day on the 15 March, Brand View has reviewed the promotional activity of the fragrance category in Boots, Debenhams, Superdrug, Tesco Direct and The Perfume Shop.

High demand causes problems for retailers

The Co-operative Group predicted it would sell an additional 300,000 bouquets of flowers for Mother’s Day (The Grocer). It also predicted that shoppers would spend £260 million on Mother’s Day gifts such as fragrance, more than other seasonal events, including Valentine’s Day.

The spike in sales caused problems for UK delivery firm Yodel who failed to deliver some orders on Mother’s Day (BBC). Customers complained that they had not received orders from the firm that delivers for Interflora, Marks and Spencer, Moonpig and Waitrose. It’s not the first time Yodel has struggled to cope with high demand; last year it had to stop collecting parcels from retailers following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales (BBC).

Types of promotional strategies used across the fragrance category

In order to capitalise on this annual event retailers promote heavily across product ranges deemed popular as gifts for women, such as fragrance. We identified various promotional strategies used by the retailers for Mother’s Day across this category.

Superdrug and Tesco Direct focused on save amount promotions, while Debenhams focused on percentage savings. Some 42.6 percent of Boots promotions were Web only offers and the majority of these promotions offered a free gift when they purchased the product online.

In addition to this 19.1 percent of Boots promotions were ‘purchase for a free product’; The Perfume Shop was the only other retailer that used this strategy on Mother’s Day.

fragrance promo mechanics

Identifying the percentage of fragrance ranges on promotion

Having reviewed the promotions on offer in the six weeks prior to Mother’s Day we’ve identified that Boots had the greatest percentage of its range on promotion over the full six week period, with an average of 39 percent.

Debenhams percentage of fragrance range on promotion spiked from 24 February to 2 March; 100 percent of their range was discounted during this time, offering shoppers a minimum of 10 percent savings on all products. Tesco Direct used a similar strategy with over 90 percent of its fragrance range on promotion from 1 February to 16 February, however, we can assume this would be to capture Valentine’s day sales.

Boots and Superdrug were the only retailers to show any significant increase in promotions in the week before Mother’s Day; both retailers increased their percentage of range on promotion on 11 March.

percentage range fragrance on promo

Identifying the depth of cut on fragrance promotions

Looking at the average depth of cut across the same time period we see that although Tesco Direct and Debenhams had wide ranging fragrance promotions they were accompanied by lower average depths of cut.The Perfume Shop had no depth of cut; they offered a free gift.

Superdrug had the greatest average depth of cut for the seven days prior to Mother’s Day with 41.2 percent, closely followed by Debenhams with 40.8 percent. Boots then trail with an average depth of cut of 33.3 percent.Tesco Direct had the lowest average depth of cut with 22.3 percent.

average depth of cut fragrance

Reviewing the price of promoted products

The Co-operative Group survey cited in The Grocer highlighted that the average shopper spends £46 on Mother’s Day, £7 less than Valentine’s Day. Brand View has reviewed the pricing of the promoted products in each of the five retailers analysed.

We can see that The Perfume Shop did not promote any products priced less than £19.99, instead focusing on the £40- £59.99 price range where 46.2 percent of its promotions were run. It also promoted two products over £100, the only other retailer to do so was Boots.

Superdrug did not promote any products over £40, instead splitting promotions almost evenly across the £0-£19.99 and £20-£39.99 price ranges. Boots used a similar strategy splitting the majority of its promotions over the three lowest price ranges.

average promoted price fragrance

The average promoted price of a fragrance product on Mother’s Day was £36.92. If The Co-operative group survey is correct, shoppers had another £9.12 to spend before reaching the average spend, and therefore may look for additional gifts, such as chocolate or wine – How heavily were boxed chocolate and wine promoted for Mother’s Day? 

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