The average household owns 17 devices five of which are powered by built-in batteries and 12 that are powered by replaceable batteries. These 12 devices, on average, require two batteries each which are replaced between two and three times a year. Therefore 4872 batteries are needed per household per year. But the places where those batteries are being bought has changed. The grocery multiples have been aggressive with their battery promotions for a long time now, however, more consumers are buying cells from the discounters, but it’s a case of you get what you pay for!

Menna Zaghloul, Duracell brand manager at P&G, explains: "The rise of discounter stores has led to a rise in very cheap batteries sold in large packs. To retailers and shoppers these batteries can often seem great value, with a large number of cells available for a low initial purchase price. However, the poor product performance is significantly noticeable.

"For example, in digital cameras some cells allow for fewer than five effective photos to be taken, while Duracell Ultra will allow effective use through more than 100 photos. And in tested Hasbro toys, Duracell lasts up to 12 times longer than these batteries."

Duracell maintains its market-leading position via the use of new technology. The latest is Duralock power preservation technology to help lock in the battery’s power for up to 10 years, even when in storage. "With a unique double layer separator to limit chemical reaction and a triple anti-corrosion protection system, this new technology offers consumers performance reliability and long-lasting power across the full Duracell range, including alkaline, which is available now, with RCR and hearing aid cells coming later this year," explains Zaghoul. "Within the alkaline market it is paramount to drive category value by offering shoppers value for money on a product that delivers long-lasting power.

"The introduction of Duralock technology directly impacts on this very clear consumer priority," she says.

The Duralock upgrade will be communicated across key Duracell packs plus there will be a media campaign the biggest from Duracell in recent years which focuses on the brand’s performance superiority and value. There will be TV advertising during the peak Christmas period, as well as year-round print, digital campaign and in-store pos.

Another bit of Duracell marketing is the Power Me campaign fronted by endurance athlete James Cracknell in a bid to empower people to follow his lead and achieve their own lifelong goals. The brand is on a mission to power people’s goals from the extreme to the everyday, whether it’s reading War & Peace, learning to play a musical instrument, or even rowing across an ocean.

By visiting the Duracell UK Facebook page, consumers can share their goals, get support from Duracell and be in with a chance to win a Power Charge incentive. Depending on the winner’s goal, this could be training, equipment or inspiration from an expert.

Meanwhile, the Energizer brand has reported good sales growth with Ultra+ sales up almost 8% (Nielsen data) and Energizer HighTech sales up a whopping 75%. Ultra+ features PowerSeal technology which locks in its long-lasting power for up to 10 years when in storage.

HighTech is the most powerful battery in the Energizer alkaline family. Featuring PowerBoost technology, it is available in the five main battery sizes.

"Energizer HighTech is one of the product lines which have been providing the most solid growth in the past eight months, showcasing consumers’ interest in high-performance batteries and our ability to drive value for the category," explains global marketing manager, Mandy Iswarienko.

Panasonic is launching a new packaging design across its alkaline range to highlight the brand’s new ’10 year power protection’ message and on-pack ’anti-leak protection’ promise. The pack designs are further boosted by an integrated performance message in the standard batteries this is ’up to 50% longer lasting’; on premium, ’up to 80%’; while the high premium lines read ’No 1 long lasting’.

The icons showing which appliance the batteries suit have been moved to the back of the packs.

The three-strong range targeting occasional, frequent and heavy users will be supported by a consumer PR campaign aimed at students, business and frequent travellers.

Tim Clark, sales manager, UK and Ireland, Panasonic Energy, says: "Independent research has found that, excluding price, the three characteristics battery purchasers most wanted to see on pack were long-lasting, no leakage and long shelf life. The new packs highlight these three factors clearly, so as to quickly appeal to consumers in order to boost sales."

Clark says batteries remain a highly impulse-driven category and while there has been a drop in the percentage of branded batteries sold on promotion, the importance of promotions at driving market volume should not be under-estimated.

Alkaline remains the largest battery segment with 73% of total value sales. The discount channel dominated entry-level zinc segment accounts for 9%, with rechargeable and specialist batteries making up the remaining 18%.

"Surprisingly, given the recent recession, the rechargeable segment has seen a decline in volume and value even though the financial and environmental benefits are appreciated by consumers," says Clark. "Panasonic consumer research has shown that around 70% of battery shoppers have a positive attitude towards rechargeable batteries but that 30% find it difficult to choose the right rechargeable batteries and chargers for their needs."

The future

Duracell’s Zaghloul is optimistic about the future of the overall batteries market, believing that while there is still a need for batteries, there remains scope for growth. She says there is no doubt that the kinds of devices that require batteries have changed significantly over the past 10 years, with new innovations in toys and gaming, such as games controllers, replacing products such as more traditional portable audio products.

Duracell works with key device manufacturers to help provide consumers with the "best possible product experience". In the US, for example, the brand teamed up with toy manufacturer Hasbro so battery-powered Hasbro toys featured a ’Power up with Duracell batteries’ message.

Duracell’s commitment to innovation has taken the brand beyond traditional batteries and into consumer power solutions. For example, its Duracell Powermat in the US, which provides wireless charging for iPhones and Samsung Galaxys, is proving popular with potential for broader roll-out.