The BBC’s Panorama programme this week highlighted just how important and complex supermarket promotions are - and while the number of offers may look to be on the up, the value of the discounts is beginning to fall for the first time in years, according to experts at Kantar Worldpanel.

The promotional giveaway, a multiplication of the proportion of sales on deal and the value of those offers, has started to fall for the first time after several years of growth, Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight consultant Fraser McKevitt told The Grocer. For the 12 weeks to 30 October the promotional giveaway across the major supermarkets had fallen by 0.2 percentage points. And it was “looking likely” that a similar fall in the last few weeks would be recorded, suggesting that it wasn’t simply a blip.

A fall in the level of promotions would lead to a rise in the sales of own label, McKevitt also predicted. Consumer confidence was currently at the lowest level since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Back then many predicted there would be a mass migration to own label, but the increase in the promotional giveaway by the supermarkets meant that brands continued to grow faster over the past two years. This could well change if shoppers were no longer getting the same deals on brands, he argued. “Own label will become something of a safety value for shoppers,” he said.

Next year will see a huge amount of activity in terms of own label development, Morrisons and Asda are gearing up for major budget own-label launches next month while Morrisons will also relaunch more ranges during the year. Sainsbury’s is rolling out its by Sainsbury’s range and Tesco is focused on its venture brands. McKevitt said this represented the biggest danger for brand owners for 2012.

However he also predicted that suppliers might be in a better position now than at the start of the recession to get a better deal from the major retailers. “When times were tough in 2009, three of the big four were gaining market share now there is only one,” he said. “Negotiations will still be tough but the balance of power may just be shifting back to suppliers - a little.”

Brand owners might be more inclined to offer the best deals to the retailers that are growing fastest, he added.

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar, published this week, show that for the 12 weeks to 27 November only Morrisons of the big four has increased market share, from 12% to 12.1%. Tesco’s share fell from 30.7% to 30.5%, the combined share for Asda and Netto has remained steady at 17.1% and Sainsbury’s has held at 16.4%.

Waitrose has continued to gain share, as have Aldi and Lidl.