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Benchmark store data is key for a level playing field in SA's retail sector

The manufacturing and retail landscape in South Africa has changed forever. Amidst these tumultuous market conditions, NielsenIQ South Africa managing director Ged Nooy says that a substantive store measurement panel is key but he raises concerns about a worrying trend towards aggregated data which is resulting in up to 50% of manufacturers' market share measurement being lost and the lack of a true picture of the real state of play in the local industry.
Benchmark store data is key for a level playing field in SA's retail sector

The current South African trading environment is tough and with the local manufacturing and retail sector having faced the onslaught of successive Covid-19 lockdowns, multiple liquor bans (and current reduced trading weeks) as well as unprecedented riots, within the last 18 months; the industry is stretched, to say the least.

Within this pressure-cooker environment and in the face of heightened targets, what we have understandably seen is store-level data being used in a tactical, short term manner as opposed to the adoption of medium to longer-term strategic approaches. Unfortunately, and perhaps even more worrying, is that the use of this type of store data has been accompanied by the rise of data aggregators in the South African sector.

In tandem with this development, we have been at the receiving end of a spread of misinformation in the market and after much thought, feel it’s our responsibility to respond with facts, not fiction.

The bottom line is that limited aggregated data is not a consistent, stable or useful currency for the industry. This is borne out by the fact that our broader benchmark data shows that on average, clients who are using aggregated data are missing out on approximately 18% - 35% of their market share. Even more concerning is that in certain product categories; for example beverages, this figure is as high as 50%. (source: NIQ Total SA MAT June 2021).

This means that in many instances, brands using simple data aggregation might not even have sight of a loss in market share or significant growth they could leverage off. This also has longer-term implications s you can’t react to what you don’t measure or create relevant and effective strategies in response to these shifts.

We, therefore, remain committed to providing the necessary data to ensure stability in the market. To assist this process we will continue to utilise a range of global insight drawn from NielsenIQ’s presence across 140 countries which enhances the robustness of our benchmark data.

In addition, recent acquisitions in key markets are driving our ability to bring new IP, technology and software solutions to the South African retail sector to ensure it remains globally competitive. In line with this, our commitment to the ‘democratisation of data has been made possible via a software solution that provides always-on access to store-level data sets as well as actionable insight to effectively measure key store promotional activity.

We also see three fast rack ways to succeed within the current environment as paying attention to pricing elasticities with regards to promotions, optimising route to market within traditional trade/independent channels and leveraging advanced analytics with regards to assortment.

Overall and despite current challenges, South Africa remains a key NielsenIQ market and our 67 years of experience in the country means that no matter the disinformation we face, we will always offer one version of the truth…and nothing but the truth!

We look forward to engaging with the industry on these and other developments in the coming months.

Benchmark store data is key for a level playing field in SA's retail sector
Ged Nooy has extensive experience in the consumer goods industry both internationally and locally. He recently served as the Managing Director for NielsenIQ West Africa and was responsible for leading Nielsen’s Retail Intelligence business. In his role, Nooy successfully worked with global clients such as Diageo, Coca Cola, Unilever, Toloram, P&G and RB.

Prior to his current role, Nooy led the Sales Effectiveness Practice for Nielsen in South Africa and also gained experience in the retail industry working across multiple retailers.

In the past, Ged has worked in field marketing, marketing and sales management across South Africa, UK and Ireland and Europe working across several global brands and retailers.

About NielsenIQ
NielsenIQ is the leader in providing the most complete, unbiased view of consumer behaviour, globally. Powered by a ground-breaking consumer data platform and fuelled by rich analytic capabilities, NielsenIQ enables bold, confident decision-making for the world’s leading consumer goods companies and retailers.

Using comprehensive data sets and measuring all transactions equally, NielsenIQ gives clients a forward-looking view into consumer behaviour to optimise performance across all retail platforms. Our open philosophy on data integration enables the most influential consumer data sets on the planet. NielsenIQ delivers the complete truth.

NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in nearly 100 markets, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit NielsenIQ.com

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