Asda’s year-on-year increase in promotional activity has left rivals in its wake – but everyone’s levels are up on 2009, says Chloe Ryan

Asda has dramatically increased its level of promotions by 78.1% on this time last year [Assosia 4w/e 5 February]. Market share data for the past 12 weeks reveals that Asda was the slowest-growing of the big four [Kantar Worldpanel], suggesting the push is an attempt to regain ground lost to Tesco following the relaunch of Clubcard.

Asda also has the biggest month-on-month increase in promotions at 57.9%, although the saving being offered is the lowest at 30.3%. Last month, an average Asda saving was £1.59 but this has now dropped to a less generous average of £1.38 per deal. Sainsbury's leads in this regard, with an average 37.3% saving per promotion.

The mechanics of promoting products has shifted away from more generous deals such as half price down from 28.4% of all deals last year to 24.3% now to bogofs and x-for-ys. The number of beers, wines and spirits promotions have fallen, but BWS still remains the most promoted category, accounting for 18.1% of promotions compared with 22.6% a year ago.

Health, beauty and baby promotional activity has also dipped, as have chilled and dairy. In their place, frozen has increased its share from 6.3% last year to 7.8%. Meat, fish & poultry is also being far more heavily promoted, accounting for 5.5% of deals compared with 3.9% last year, suggesting retailers are focusing on promoting core items rather than luxuries. Produce, grocery and household are also being more heavily promoted.

The proportion of branded products versus own label on promotion has fallen over the year. Morrisons, which traditionally promotes own label less than any other supermarket, has increased the proportion of own label on promotion.

Last year it had a ratio of 95:5 on brands versus own label but this has fallen to 90:10. Asda has reduced the ratio of brands versus own label from 89:11 last year to 83:17 this year. Sainsbury's and Tesco's split of branded and own-label promotions is unchanged, while Waitrose, which has introduced hundreds of own-label lines under the Essential and Seriously names, has biased its promotions more heavily towards brands.

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