Print Circulars to Remain Core Marketing Format

BY Kathy Crosett
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Smartphone screens may be capturing the attention of more consumers, but printed circulars still bring shoppers through the doors of traditional stores. Nielsen researchers conclude that up to 80% of U.S. households rely on this old-​school marketing tool to plan their shopping trips. At the same time, digital formats are making inroads.

In Nielsen’s 2017 Homescan Study, researchers checked out how well vendors are doing when they promote FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) with print circulars.  These products, also called consumer packaged goods, include items like paper supplies, soft drinks, and cleaning agents. They are purchased frequently and are quickly used. Shoppers are also looking for deals on these items or are in the mood to try something new. While there has been a slight decline in the usage of printed circulars, between 3% and 4%, in the past few years, these advertising vehicles are still extremely popular.

When shopping for FMCG, consumers are relying on the following formats:

  • Circulars in home 85%
  • Circulars in store 79%
  • Store website 77%
  • Store emails 75%
  • Store apps 56%
  • Savings site/​blog 52%
  • Money-​saving app 52%
  • Social media 52%

All of the digital formats recorded significant growth among shoppers over the past several years, a detail which shouldn’t be surprising as total digital media time for the average consumer amounts to three hours a day. Because of the rapid growth in digital formats, your clients should know that shoppers will likely consult formats like store websites and emails more frequently than printed circulars by 2019. This shift will be driven in part by younger consumers, especially those in the millennial group, who are digital natives and who want to find the best deals on the products they frequently purchase.

Reps should encourage their FMCG marketers to balance their ad budgets across traditional and digital formats as they monitor these changes in the marketplace.