Supermarket ad spend hits record high as competition heats up

Supermarkets ended three successive years of ad spend declines in 2013, increasing their media spend by more than 10 per cent to record highs as the big four look to stave off the competition and smaller rivals such as Aldi built on strong sales momentum.

Video: Aldi’s latest TV ad for its “Swap & Save” campaign

Figures from Ebiquity show that the total amount supermarkets spent across TV, press, cinema, radio and outdoor media increased to £455m in 2013, from £413.4m the year before.

Aldi’s ad spend shot up, rising 42.8 per cent year on year to £52.6m, putting it above Marks and Spencer and within touching distance of the lowest spending of the big four, Sainsbury’s, on £53.6m. Lidl also increased spend by a sector-high 47 per cent after it ran its first Christmas TV ad campaign last year.

Both discount grocers have seen their market share soar by double-digit numbers in recent months, with the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel pegging Aldi’s share at 4.3 per cent, up from 3.3 per cent a year previously, while Lidl was at 3.2 per cent. By comparison, the big four have struggled to see any growth, with all four losing share for the first time in a decade in the 12 weeks to the start of November.

Across the retail sector, ad spend was up 6 per cent to £1.69bn, although that is still below the highs reached in 2010. Online retailer saw the biggest rate of growth, with spend more than doubling to £18m, putting it in the top 20 spenders for the first time, while Ikea’s spend rose 50 per cent.

In FMCG, total ad spend was up by 1.8 per cent to £1.50bn, driven in particular by Procter & Gamble, which significantly upped spend across a number of big brands including Ambi Pur, Lenor and Head & Shoulders. Coca-Cola is still the biggest brand advertiser, with spend up to £18.9m.

The Top 20 Retailers by Media Spend

Companies Spend (Discounted) (£) Y-o-Y %
Tesco £91,491,362 6.48%
Asda £84,343,616 -8.53%
Morrisons £69,962,314 12.27%
DFS £64,489,188 -1.01%
McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd £62,101,855 27.12%
Sainsbury’s £53,599,076 7.91%
Aldi £52,647,355 42.82%
Currys & PC World Megastore £44,456,469 19.20%
Argos £41,247,527 -0.83%
Marks & Spencer £39,795,357 -24.44%
B&Q £34,907,430 15.15%
KFC £31,682,725 0.31%
Boots £28,292,105 2.32%
Co-operative Stores £26,241,136 41.21%
Waitrose £23,335,672 17.79%
LiDL £22,613,539 47.22%
John Lewis £22,601,959 2.00%
Ikea £20,951,464 50.21%
Wickes £20,181,999 -19.36% £18,913,396 115.29%

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