Monthly Archives: August 2016

The ‘C’ word

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Now, your grandmother may not like it, but connected viewing and content are changing the way we watch entertainment, and changing the shape of traditional broadcasting as we know it.

We, as consumers, like to time-shift our TV viewing. No, not like the famous Quantum Leap, but watching what we want when it’s convenient for us to do so.

In May, 13.7 per cent of all TV was watched time-shifted via a catch-up service, up from 6.9 per cent in 2010. This percentage will most certainly continue to grow as more consumers make use of connected services.

With the increase of streaming options and greater bandwidth from our broadband providers, there are many options for consumers to watch their favourite shows that don’t involve a TV, not forgetting very smart services like Freeview Play and Sky Q.

We love streaming on the go and away from the traditional living room setting, with 32 per cent of total viewing time being done through streaming on a device other than a TV. That’s 11,221,204 hours a week in the UK.

We will stream anything it would seem, with four episodes of EastEnders topping a recent catch-up list. What we seem to avoid watching on catch-up and make an effort with is appointment TV, for example live sporting events, which meant sport did not break the top 50 of time-shifted programming. Rather, sports topped the live streaming list, with consumers looking to watch the match with everyone else rather than catch up later.

On top of live streaming and catch-up services, some smart TVs and streaming devices also give easy access to TV and film streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Quality productions such as Orange is the New Black, which costs nearly $4 million an episode to produce, and House of Cards, costing slightly more at $4.5m, have meant that paying to stream is an acceptable proposition. Netflix will spend $5 billion on programming in 2016 – this is on a par with traditional broadcasters such as Fox Networks, and higher than CBS.

Quality, and the ability to be more risqué, is paying off for the non-traditional content producers. They are new, credible and serious players, mixing up the way we consume drama, and now also factual TV.

With Netflix boasting 81 million subscribers in its quarterly earnings report, it’s easy to understand how connected content and the ability to view via multiple devices is again changing the face of broadcasting and how we consume TV. With the BBC license coming in at an exceptionally good value, £145.50 a year, it’s a lot of high-quality media on many platforms to even consider it expensive. But, with Netflix averaging £89.88 and Amazon Prime £79 a year, it’s got tough competition from all angles, Government included.

Grandma might be happy with her old terrestrial channels, but many consumers will be looking to access all this amazing content by upgrading to a new smart TV or other connected device. For your store, connected services are the perfect USP to sell these new products – smart TVs are rapidly becoming the base level for the category, much like HD is now. What’s important is reassuring consumers that these services will enhance their viewing experience, not hinder it with difficult-to-use software or hidden charges.

Have a smart TV set up in your store with a live aerial feed and internet connection ready for your staff to demo. Let interested shoppers interact and play with the TV, letting them explore the features and benefits of streaming and catch-up services, demonstrating their ease of use and accessibility to free terrestrial catch up or paid for content. With GfK estimating that over five million 4K TVs will be sold in the UK by the end of 2017, smart TV is complementing UHD in equal measure.

With demand services making up four per cent of TV viewing for all ages, and more than doubling to 8.7 per cent among the same 16 to 24 age group, it’s understandable that Amazon can afford to spend $4m per episode on The Grand Tour, and Netflix’s market capitalisation is now $42.3 billion.

If you aren’t offering streaming devices and content cards like Google Play, you aren’t giving your customers, of all ages, what they want and are potentially missing out on an opportunity to increase your margin.


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Smoothie operator

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With healthy eating at an all-time high, the market for juice extractors and other food prep gadgets has steadily been growing over the past few years.

A recent study by Mintel found that now 41 percent of Brits are cooking from scratch every day, with consumers looking to control their diets and improve their health.

Retailers need to cater to their audience, ranging a good selection of products within the category, with the ability to sell them effectively, as sales are only going to grow.

Now a mainstay of the health food appliance category, sales of low-fat fryers, for example, are continuing to increase, growing by 12 per cent year on year, where traditional deep fat fryers declined by one per cent.

While the fryer category as a whole has grown by eight per cent, two-thirds of this growth is down to healthier fryers alone. With a higher price point averaging at £101 compared with the average £25 for traditional fryers, low-fat fryers are not only a more popular product, but also more profitable for your store.

Likewise, sales of standalone grills have increased by 30 per cent since 2011. The category has seen a jump in popularity as a whole, with 15 per cent of Brits interested in purchasing a grill, compared with only 10 per cent in 2013. Traditional fruit juicers have seen a 35 per cent drop in sales volume since the beginning of 2016. On the other hand, juice extractors (such as the NutriBullet) have grown by 111 per cent and sold nearly one million extra units in the past 12 months.


Extractors are taking the market away from juicers because of their health credentials. Whereas juicers only release the sugary juice (sometimes as much as a can of coke), extractors keep the vitamin-filled fruit fibre, creating a healthy smoothie. There are clear health benefits to all of these products, with low-fat fryers and grills cutting fat from everyday cooking, and extractors making smoothies to make it easier to hit that all important five-a-day. However, all of these products are considered purchases, with price points generally higher than their ‘unhealthy’ counterparts. While the health benefits of the products are clear, many consumers will need to be convinced that their new extractor or fryer is value for money.

As such, to make the most of the category, it’s important for your store to explain the financial benefits to shoppers.

A good example is juice extractors – the average price of a medium smoothie (450ml) from a high-street coffee chain is £3.25. Based on the ingredients of this smoothie, making the same thing at home by buying a watermelon, grapes and some strawberries would only cost around £1.35. Using a mid-range extractor, such as the Morphy Richards Easy Blend, it would take only 19 smoothies to recoup the cost of the product.

Based on making one smoothie a day, this would take less than three weeks.

This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the financial benefits of a juice extractor to shoppers, many of whom will already be buying smoothies every day from a local coffee shop. Knowing that they can recoup the cost of the product in as little as three weeks will be a huge factor in their decision to purchase, as the extractor will likely save them a significant amount over time.

For those shoppers who favour convenience over savings, a demonstration could change their attitude to the product. Show them how easy it is to make their smoothie every morning, while simultaneously offering them a sample made right in front of them.


If you’ve decided to demonstrate a juice extractor product in your store, set aside a budget to buy fresh fruit each morning on busy days, especially each weekend. Ensure that your staff are trained to use the product, including food and hygiene training, and are briefed on its unique features.

Position the demo stand prominently, offering passers-by a fresh smoothie and the opportunity to discuss the product with a staff member.

The health SDA category is an excellent one to tap your store into consumer interest and market trends. It also offers a great opportunity to create some theatre in store, demonstrating these fantastic new products with colourful displays that will catch the eye of passing shoppers, as well as those already interested in making a purchase.


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