Mars +38% in Asia due to category focus

By Doug Newhouse |

A ‘category-led strategy’ has boosted sales of Mars products by 38% in Asia in 2010, delivering enhanced visibility and ‘a united focus with retailers on the shopper’, according to the confectionery company.

Commenting on the progress, across Asia last year, Jack Tabbers, the company’s first-ever General Manager of Mars International Travel Retail (MITR) said: “In the past year our concentration on upgrading category execution in key locations across Asia has delivered a sales uplift of 38%. The key winners for us were enhanced visibility and a united focus with retailers on the shopper.”

MITR added that considering the growth in mass travel amongst key Asian nationalities, Asia is an important region for the company, with the diversity of many countries and cultures defined in the distinction between purchasing motivations between northern and southern countries.

Tabbers said: “In the South, the focus is on family sharing where value packs of Mars bar brands (Snickers, Mars, Bounty, Twix and Milk Way) and the five-flavour variants of M&M’s are the top skus. Over the past few years we’ve seen strong growth in low-cost carriers and the offer has been developed to address the needs of the scale and profile of that traffic. 

“For example, the dominance of LCCs also influences the shopping mindset of the traveller – they are definitely seeking a value-focused offer and that mindset drives an increase of the total confectionery spend due to low cost of travel.

“There is a huge opportunity in this region to leverage the benefits of focused category management and we are working with a number of retail partners in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia to help them develop their strategies to maximise the unique impulse opportunity of the confectionery category as a whole as well as the benefits to Mars’ brands.”

“We have spent time training store staff and retail management to create a more compelling shopper experience led by purchase motivation at the heart of the strategy. This kind of effective merchandising has an instant positive impact on sales of around 15%.”

Tabbers added that the big opportunity in Northern Asia is in China, Taiwan and Korea where purchase motivation is dominated by gifting, led by the cultural pressures of bringing gifts back from travels for friends, family and work colleagues. 

He said: “As such we see a huge innovation opportunity for our number one global brand, M&M’s, and we are developing exclusive travel retail collectible gift packs across the product range. Celebrations also has appeal to this region as a more accessible gift brand to share with family.

Adding his comments, Mars Regional Travel Retail Manager Asia Pacific, Alvin Tan said: “The opportunity for confectionery across Asia is huge as we have the single most impulse-driven category in travel retail and large populations of emerging travellers hungry to try global brands, particularly in confectionery where consumption is on a sharp rise. 

“Understanding shopper and non-shopper impulse is at the heart of our mission and we are committed to delivering a compelling category solution that puts purchase motivation first, upon which we can leverage the power of our brands, led by Snickers and M&M’s, the world’s top two confectionery brands.”



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