Every year the Easter egg market gets more and more competitive and, unfortunately for independent retailers, this year is no different. Scouting around my local superstores, I was amazed at the scope of some of the ’bogofs’ and cut-price offers.
Sainsbury, for example, has Maltesers, Milky Bar and Smarties £1.39 eggs on buy-one-get-one-free. In adult eggs it has Aero premium at £4.98 or ’two for £8’. But that’s not all. The little devils have 25% off Cadbury Mini Egg tubes and off Creme Egg multipacks. And don’t get me started on Lindt Golden Bunnies - I thought they were meant to be a premium gift line but the superstores have them piled high and are selling cheap at £3.29 each or ’two for £6’. All good news for the consumer, but bad news for the indie trying to compete.
My biggest shock, however, came from a recent visit to Boots. Now I thought Boots was a chemist or perhaps a healthcare store - but you wouldn’t think so if you ventured into an outlet at the moment as its shelves are filled with chocolate eggs. What’s going on? Stick to Nurofen and shampoo I say, and leave the eggs to the food stores.
But what can you do? I do know of some indies who have pulled out of Easter altogether while others have focused on real top-end eggs, the ones the superstores don’t pile so high and sell so cheap. I suppose it’s a case of assessing your consumer profile. Whatever you decide, you have to remember that Easter is the biggest chocolate-giving occasion of the year but having said that, not everyone always wants chocolate. According to Mintel data, Easter is a key gift-giving occasion - the research company interviewed 2,000 adults and 34% of them said they gave presents at Easter. But of course those presents need not be chocolate eggs. They could be flowers, CDs or a nice bottle of wine.
It’s a tough decision whether to turn your back on eggs or not but a chocolate egg that’s not sold by Easter ain’t gonna sell unless you drastically cut the price and with it, your margin.
What to do? I haven’t got the answer but I reckon a lot of independents will be seriously rethinking their Easter offer for next year.
Anyway I hope that whatever you’ve got in the way of eggs sell - and Happy Easter!