Beverage Marketers Look to Engage Around the Aisle - eMarketer

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Beverage Marketers Look to Engage Around the Aisle

Using apps to touch consumers throughout the purchase funnel

October 30, 2013

As the market for beverages continues to fragment and brand extensions grow, brands are jockeying for position on store shelves and competing for consumers’ attention in social media, according to a new eMarketer report, “CPG Focus—Beverages: Emerging Mobile and Social Strategies.”

Brands put a lot of effort into awareness campaigns to influence buyers’ purchase decisions. But consumers’ focus can only be maintained so long if a better opportunity presents itself in the form of a discount or other purchase incentive. After all the hard work creating awareness about a product, how likely are brands to lose out to a competitor because of a few cents?

Mobile and industry experts agree this is where the real challenges lie. “[Beverages are] high-impulse, and so much of it is selling a lifestyle,” said April Carlisle, Arc/Leo Burnett’s senior vice president of global shopper marketing. “If you’re thirsty, are you open to watching a 20-second video on your mobile phone while walking into the store? It’s a bottle of pop. Probably not.”

Recipes and product information are some of the more popular content in food and beverage brand apps. While these types of apps can bridge the gap from intent to purchase, it’s not clear whether beverage apps are effective in pushing consumers to make purchase decisions. The number of grocery shoppers who have downloaded food and beverage apps has nearly doubled in the past two years, according to data from the National Grocers Association and SupermarketGuru.

US Grocery Shoppers Who Download Food or Beverage Apps, 2010-2013 (% of respondents)

This rapid growth has occurred even though beverage brand apps are not necessarily offering what consumers want. These apps tend to be less about providing practical information or value, and more about providing experiences—despite evidence that consumers mainly are looking for deals and discounts.

Consumers expect to receive something in exchange for their time and data usage. In a February 2013 study by market research firm Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Travel @dvisor, a full 50% of US mobile device users said they used branded mobile apps in order to receive discounts and coupons; 20% said they used them to participate in contests, for which they were likely to receive prizes and other incentives.

Reasons to Use Branded Mobile Apps According to US Mobile Device Users, by Demographic, Feb 2013 (% of respondents in each group)

An informal search through the iPhone App store shows the disconnect between consumers’ desire for value and information and marketers’ offers of entertaining user experiences.


The full report, “CPG Focus—Beverages: Emerging Mobile and Social Strategies,” also answers these key questions:

  • How is consumers’ use of social and mobile influencing the way in which beverage brands market?
  • What strategies work best to create brand awareness?
  • How are marketers using apps to create awareness? Are brands and consumers on the same page when it comes to the value of a mobile-branded app?
  • Can mobile be the bridge from awareness to conversion in the beverage category?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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