Fight for consumers: grocery stores attract with discount campaigns


At the beginning of the corona pandemic, the number of special offers had fallen noticeably. In the meantime, however, promotions are making a big comeback. An important reason for this is the changed purchasing behavior of consumers as a result of the crisis.

After a corona-related slowdown in spring, there are more special offers in the grocery trade. This is the result of a market analysis by the market research company Nielsen. "Since the end of the first lockdown in the spring, the number of promotions and special offers has increased again significantly. It is currently even slightly above the level before the pandemic," said Nielsen retail expert Axel Erhardt.

According to the Nielsen expert for consumer behavior, Alexander Proske, the fact that there are currently so many special offers has to do with the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has permanently changed shopping behavior in Germany. "Consumers shop less now than they did before the crisis and they usually only go to one store, not two or three stores," reported Proske. Therefore, promotions, special offers and the like are becoming increasingly important for the trade. "The retailer has to fight to ensure that the next purchase takes place with him and not with the competitor. Price promotions are a very important lever here."

The Nielsen expert emphasized that special offers are currently increasingly being found at discounters. The low-cost providers suffered from the fact that consumers were currently going to the supermarkets more often because they could do all their shopping there in one go. The discounters tried to counteract this with price campaigns.

In the second quarter, special offers were ebb

At the beginning of the pandemic in spring, the number of special offers in retail initially fell noticeably. "In the second quarter of 2020 we saw that there were significantly fewer discount campaigns for everyday goods," reported Nielsen expert Anne Haine. Because many products would have sold during this time even without discounts.

The dealers had their main focus at that time on overcoming the problems caused by the lockdown, said Erhardt. In some product categories – such as toilet paper or pasta – there weren't enough goods to meet general demand. In addition, the trade first had to implement the new hygiene concepts. That set limits to advertising campaigns.

Erhardt does not believe that the current partial lockdown will have similar effects. "There are no reliable data yet, but we do not expect that the current lockdown light will lead to a decline in promotional activities."

According to Nielsen, around a fifth of consumer goods in Germany, from coffee to detergents, are bought at a discount. In total, consumers had spent 15.3 billion euros on price-reduced products in the past twelve months, 500 million euros more than in the previous year. According to Nielsen, special offers are particularly successful for products that are bought regularly and have a relatively high price – such as detergents, coffee or alcoholic beverages.