Alcohol at the end of supermarket aisles is directly linked to higher sales

Alcohol at end of supermarket aisles linked to boosted sales

Researchers bust a marketing move and prove that “fizzy drinks and alcohol sell far more if displayed at the end of aisles”.

Until now there has been little in the way of 'publically available' observation data showing that ‘placing products on the ends of aisles’, was genuinely associated with increased sales.

Well, now we know, and how.

“Our study shows, for the first time, that these types of displays dramatically influence people’s decisions to purchase alcohol and carbonated drinks.  Prohibiting or limiting this marketing tactic for less healthy options, or utilising this for healthier ones, holds the promising possibility of encouraging healthier lifestyle choices” 
Dr Ryota Nakamura, from the BHRU and the University of East Anglia, February 2014.

“Although we often assume price is the biggest factor in purchase choices, end-of-aisle displays may play a far greater role.  It would therefore make sense that any intervention to curb the consumption of alcohol and sugar-sweetened drinks takes this into consideration” 
Professor Theresa Marteau, director of the BHRU, Cambridge, February 2014.

“End-of-aisle displays appear to have a large impact on sales of alcoholic beverages.  Restricting the use of aisle ends for alcohol and other less healthy products might be a promising option to encourage healthier in-store purchases, without affecting availability or cost of products”
The Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Nutrition Researchers, February 2014.

The study was carried out by the Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU), which brings together the University of Cambridge, the University of East Anglia, and MRC Human Nutrition Research (MRC) Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge.  It was funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme. 

The researchers followed sales results in a UK supermarket for a year.  They found that after controlling for price, price promotion and the number of display locations for each product, end-of-aisle display was associated with increased sale volumes of all three types of alcohol.

Sales of:

  • Spirits increased by 46%
  • Wine increased by 34%
  • Beer increased by 23%
  • Carbonated drinks increased by 52%
  • Coffee increased by 73%

The researchers calculated that positioning the items at the end-of-aisles was associated with the same effect on sales as decreasing the price of alcohol by between 4% and 9% per volume.

Study by Nakamura R, Pechey R, Suchrcke M, et al. “Sales impact of displaying alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in end-of-aisle locations: An observational study” as published in Social Science & Medicine, February 22, 2014.  As reported by the National Health Service and The Daily Mail on March 16, 2014.

Posted: Thursday 24 April 2014