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Impulse buy: Unrealized potential at confectionery-rich checkouts, says Wrigley

By Oliver Nieburg+

13-Nov-2013
Last updated on 14-Nov-2013 at 12:32 GMT2013-11-14T12:32:11Z

Confectionery is the largest food category at the checkout and has better profit margins than cigarettes and tobacco, finds Wrigley-backed study
Confectionery is the largest food category at the checkout and has better profit margins than cigarettes and tobacco, finds Wrigley-backed study

A study backed by Wrigley has found that the confectionery-laden checkout zone is one of the highest areas for sales in stores, but is still underexploited by many retailers.

A recent study by the EHI Retail Institute for Wrigley’s German subsidiary found that the checkout zone generated a sales return of €35,000 ($47,000) per square meter – seven times above the average for the entire store.

It found that the checkout zone accounted for only 1% of sales space in most stores, but generated 7.1% of total sales, up from 6.4% in 2010.

Wrigley: Retailers failing to optimize checkout zone

“Yet despite its enormous importance for sales, many retailers still fail to make optimal use of the checkout zone’s potential,” said Wrigley in a statement.

Confectionery is the largest food category at the checkout and behind only cigarettes and tobacco overall when including non-food items. 

Comparison of productivity per square metre of sales area overall and in the checkout zone at a small supermarket. Source: EHI

Confectionery accounts for 22.2% of sales at the checkout zone ahead of telephone top-up and gift cards on 13%.

Confectionery earnings outstrip most categories

The study found that confectionery profit margins of 31.5% were far above the average (12.4%) at the checkout zone and three times higher than cigarettes and tobacco.

Chewing gum heads the confectionery category with a 38.7% mark-up, followed by candies, chocolate bars and mints. Earnings for chewing gum were found to be €0.45 to €0.51 ($0.60 to $0.68) per packet.

Confectionery at the checkout, earnings in per cent. Source: EHI

Chewing gum accounted for 44% of checkout zone sales in the confectionery category.

Increasing frequency of impulse buys

“In spite of these impressive figures, sales potential at the checkout has by no means been fully exploited. 100% of shoppers pass through the checkout zone, yet only 15% regularly buy one or more products there,” said Wrigley.

“Retailers can play an active part in helping to turn the remaining 85% of occasional purchasers or non-purchasers into convinced checkout shoppers.”

Comparison of earnings and sales area within confectionery at the checkout. Source: EHI

Wrigley is hoping to send its ‘checkout zone experts’ to retailers to help them make the most of the checkout space.

The company is also running what it calls the Lighthouse Project, which involves introducing modernized display shelves at cash counters. One of its projects, Ellipse, involves rounded cases at checkouts designed to encourage impulse buying.

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