FMCG prices pick up as shift away from promotions starts to pay off

The attempts of FMCG brands including Unilever and Procter & Gamble to arrest price deflation shifting marketing focus away from promotions and towards brand value is showing signs of paying off, says a study. However, data shows this could be having an impact on volume sales.

nielsen fmcg sales 2014 460

Price inflation in the UK was up 2.3 per cent in the quarter, the highest level across the five biggest European markets, according to figures from Nielsen. However this was partially offset by a 1.1 per cent decline in volume sales, with the UK the only one of the five biggest European markets to experience a drop.

P&G has frequently spoken about reducing its reliance on “unsustainable” value giveaways which became popular during the economic downturn. It instead wants to focus on innovation to build up its brands, which include Gillette, Ariel and Pampers.

Overall, FMCG sales are growing at their slowest rate for five years in the UK, rising 1.2 per cent year on year in the second quarter, below the 3.8 per cent growth seen across the rest of Europe. The research firm says the numbers indicate that consumer spending in the UK remains weak despite an improvement in the economic outlook.

Despite the poor UK performance, Nielsen claims FMCG sales across Europe are “looking rosier”, with growth at its highest level in more than two years. This was boosted by a increase in sales volume, in part due to Easter falling in the second quarter this year.

However, price inflation across Europe is at its lowest level since the first quarter of 2011.

Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, Nielsen’s European director of retail insights, says: “These sales figures are impressive, boosted by Easter – when spend typically increases. And while we estimate this calendar anomaly accounted for about 1% of extra volume sales, a ‘normalised’ view is that overall sales value is still up around a healthy 2.8% – which is more positive than it has been recently.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here