The Grocer’s 2017 Top Products Survey, THE definitive guide to the current state of the UK’s grocery industry

Grocery battery sales have been electrified this past year thanks to the growth in specialist hi-tech electronics. Sales are up £4.4m (2.%) on volumes up 0.4%, with price rises driven by smaller batteries’ growth.

“The miniaturisation of devices has driven demand for smaller batteries, such as Lithium Coins and Alkaline button batteries, which are growing at an accelerated rate of 8%,” says Christina Turner, associate marketing director at market leader Duracell, which is up 1.2% to £121.2m on volumes down 1.3%.

Growing use of a wide range of hi-tech devices, from fitness trackers through to healthcare equipment such a blood glucose monitors and hearing aids for our ageing population, has driven 9% growth in specialist batteries, according to Nielsen.

Number two brand Energizer has been the biggest beneficiary of this trend, growing 8.8% on volumes up 8.7% as it has won larger share of fixture. Energizer Eco Advanced, with its 4x longer life and composition of 4% recyclable batteries, has been a key driver, says marketing director Todd Berault.

Data Box

Top 15 batteries

“The devices people are using are becoming more sophisticated in terms of the use and therefore they are higher drain and so require higher performance batteries,” explains Berault.

Of course, no one wants a device on which your health relies to go flat unexpectedly, so shoppers are increasingly prepared to spend more for a trusted brand. See the decline of own label for proof. “We think that’s the distinction between own label and brands: consumers have a belief that the brand is going to provide higher quality, and be longer lasting,” adds Berault.

So the big brands are looking to premiumise their offerings, advertising a longer battery life or eco-friendly credentials on their packaging. Brands are also shifting to bigger pack sizes to cater for energy hungry devices.

“Market data indicates that the eight-pack of AA or AAA batteries is becoming the new standard pack size-especially in the important pre-Christmas period,” says Varta UK & Ireland trade marketing manager Natalie Carney, who adds that packs of 24 are also performing particularly strongly in DIY and high street stores.

That said (and in spite of Poundland reporting strong growth for its button cell batteries), Nielsen notes that the mainstream grocers are outperforming the discount channels.

“Discounters haven’t disrupted the battery category,” says Nielsen senior client manager Lena Kahn. “It seems consumers are purchasing batteries in the grocery multiples as opposed to impulse channels or discounters as seen with a total impulse 3.2% value decline as well as Aldi’s 6.6% decline.”

Many say growing demand for more environmentally friendly products will favour rechargeable batteries. “Rechargeables still have plenty of room for growth, as consumers gain more awareness of their environmental benefits and the value for money that they offer,” says Panasonic UK & Ireland sales manager Tim Clark, whose rechargeables can be recharged up to 1,600 times.

One thing’s for sure, with Panosonic down 5%, the brand could do with a boost.


varta my power bank

My Powerbank by Varta

Varta is fuelling creativity with its new battery charger, aimed at younger users of tablets and mobile phones. Users can personalise the white surface with a permanent marker and three stencils, including a unicorn, mandala, hearts and letters. Its two high-speed charging USB cable ports can refuel one tablet or two smartphones, with a 50cm microcable cord included. With a weight of 179g and its relatively small size, it’s pretty portable, too.

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The Grocer Top Products Survey 2017: Up!