ACNielsen unveils 'Utsav Express' to analyse FMCG market during festive rush

MUMBAI: ACNielsen, the market information provider has announced the introduction of ACNielsen Utsav Express 2006 - a weekly service for monitoring the distribution and sales build up of key gifting products during the three month long festive period.

According to the ACNielsen audit the FMCG market usually witnesses an upsurge in sales during the festive period of October to December. The festive season of 2005 exhibited a similar trend with Rs. 8.44 billion of additional revenue coming in, compared to previous quarter.

To assist marketers the ACNielsen Utsav Express can help brands:
- Ascertain whether their product is placed in stores that attract the right consumer.
- Track popular gifting price point across regions.
- Monitor the retail sales build up for their gifting item.
- Explore the presence of point of purchase displays for the gift items.

ACNielsen director client service Sukanya Pal said, "As the time comes for consumers to celebrate, opportunities abound for marketers to capture consumers' attention and share of wallet with their promotional initiatives. For this time of the year in particular, it is essentially one big festival time leading up to the end of the year. "

ACNielsen data reveals that the spending habits of urban consumers on foods and non foods were about the same while in rural areas people purchased more of non food items like home and personal care products. People indulged more on cooking and personal grooming products in this season, which accounted for 29 per cent and 31 per cent of total incremental sales compared to the previous quarter.

"As the findings reveal, the spirit of celebration is not limited to urban dwellers but in rural India we have witnessed the same enthusiasm which has contributed to the upward sales trend for FMCG sector," added Pal. "The challenge now for marketers to keep ahead of competition is not only to catch the attention of people in urban India but also penetrate deep into the rural zones."

Traditionally the FMCG categories that drive the last quarter sales have been edible oil, chocolates, skin creams and lipsticks. Chocolates, the all time favourite gifting product, have seen a 16 percent increase in sales at an all India level in the festive months of October to December 2005 as compared to the previous quarter (Refer Table 1). Also it is interesting to note that in the top five gifting markets chocolates worth approximately Rs 190 million were sold every month during this season with as much as Rs 120 million coming from festive packs alone.

Salty snacks, biscuits are the other popular food categories where sales peak up during festive season, predominantly during Diwali period as revealed by Utsav Express 2005.

"Every city in India is very diverse with different consumer preferences but the willingness to spend is there all over. To marketers, it is a matter of placing the right products at the right store, at the right time and at the right price points. With Utsav Express marketers will be equipped with reliable retail market information to address these challenges," commented Pal.

Currently North India is perceived to be the biggest gifting market with other markets moving rapidly in that direction. Consumers in Delhi have a preference to premium gifting products while "Low to Mid" price points catch the attention of the consumers in Mumbai.

Based on the findings from Utsav Express 2005, ACNielsen has derived valuable learning related to consumer dynamics especially during the festive season. Some of the interesting leanings are;

- Availability of stock in the relevant stores results in a high correlation to a better market share.
- Preferred price points for gifting vary across geographies.
- Point of purchase displays encourage consumers to buy gift items.
- Gifting preferences differ for various festivals.

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