The hottest August this century saw intense activity in the impulse ice cream sector. Consumers named 67 brands of cornet, lolly, ice cream bar or individual tub, making this one of the most crowded and diverse sectors that BrandTrack has covered. It also has an exceptionally high multi-purchase ratio, with eight brands achieving penetration in excess of ten per cent and another seven five per cent or more.
Of the top 19 brands, eight are spin-offs from established confectionery brands. Mars Confectionery operates the two most popular of these transferred brands, Mars Bar and Galaxy Dove. Its Bounty, Snickers and Opal Fruits lines all score more than five per cent penetration, NestlÃ© Lyons Maid’s Kit Kat and Fruit Pastille brands each achieve eight per cent. Cadbury’s Crunchie, operated by Birds Eye Wall’s, achieved four per cent. However, the market is still dominated by a traditional manufacturer. The top four brands all stem from Birds Eye Wall’s. Between them they offer a full range of products, from bars and lollies, to cornets and choc-ices.
The wide range of formats within the sector perhaps accounts for the relatively slight demographic differences between adult self-purchasers, with people buying whatever takes their fancy or is available at the time. Magnum and Feast are slightly skewed towards males and HÃ¤agen-Daz to upmarket and female buyers.
Reasons For Purchase
Habitual purchase, although the most influential factor, is relatively low compared to other indulgence markets, whereas both impulse at point-of-purchase and novelty value are very significant. These results, allied with the large number of brands bought and high penetration levels, indicate that the market is driven more by continuous experimentation and impulse gratification than by repertoire purchase. The seasonality of the market probably also leads to fewer established purchase patterns.
More than a third of buyers chose a brand because of personal recommendation, perhaps reflecting consumers’ difficulty in predicting taste and the confusion caused by such a diversity of products. Women are far more likely to have been influenced by recommendation, as are HÃ¤agen-Daz buyers.
Advertising plays a major part in choice of brand. Television, poster and magazine ads were all acknowledged by at least ten per cent of respondents. This is the only instance in BrandTrack of three media scoring so highly.
Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be influenced by any advertising.
Magazines and posters are more significant amongst upmarket buyers, TV for the DEs. TV played a particularly strong role for Solero purchasers, reflecting its massive spend in the medium.
Strong consumer interest in the market, demonstrated by the high level of brands bought and overall penetration levels, is mirrored in the figures for spontaneous ad recall. Only 15 per cent of buyers were unable to name any brands as having been advertised during August. Sixty-two separate brands were mentioned, 14 by at least five per cent of the sample. Magnum and Solero maintain their dominance, but the confectionery brands Mars, Kit Kat and Galaxy Dove are more prominent than in the purchase tables.
The 18 to 24 age group are more likely to recall ads than 25 to 30-year-olds. Ad awareness is generally stronger in London, the South-east and Scotland than in other regions.
All the major brands, with the exception of Cornetto, spent more than 500,000 during the past year to August 1995. Birds Eye Wall’s accounted for 59 per cent of market expenditure, supporting seven brands, Mars for 18 per cent, supporting five brands, and Lyons Maid/NestlÃ© 13 per cent, with three advertised brands.
Television takes more than 90 per cent of the marketing spend. Outdoor is the major alternative medium, used mainly by the confectionery brands. HÃ¤agen-Daz is unique in allocating more than half its budget to cinema.