Despite declines in the gum category the past three years, convenience-gas retailers can still find ways to rejuvenate their gum sales by bringing this impulse category to the front of their stores and, as a result, the forefront of their customers’ minds.
The gum category is experiencing some challenges globally and across all retail channels. In the convenience-gas channel, it has seen declines and has lost some of its momentum in the overall confectionery category.
Some of the category challenges are driven by the assortment complexity, but recent consumer buying habits also play a role, along with fewer trips to convenience and gas outlets.
Gum is a highly impulsive category, so gum SKUs need to be front and centre to attract attention. In fact, 42% of gum purchases are unplanned, and 54% of shoppers who pick up a pack of gum on a whim do so at the front of the store (source: IPSOS, Gum Dipstick, 2011).
The top three players in the c-gas gum category are Excel, Dentyne and Trident, respectively. These brands make up 64% of total sales in the category, and are growing as a result of increased marketing, promotional support, and innovation; Dentyne Ice is growing at a rate of 1.9%, Excel base is up 3.5%, and Trident Layers increased 5.4% (source: Nielsen, National All Channels, L12 weeks, period ending Dec. 29, 2012).
Innovation has put these top brands at the front of the pack and continues to play a key role in attracting consumers to the segment. Visibility is paramount, so ensure new SKUs are located in hot spots like the front counter or foodservice counter and are advertised using point-of-sale materials like danglers and wobblers.
Capitalizing on current trends can also help put gum back into your store’s growth column. The gum segment attracts taste thrill seekers, consumers who continually put their taste buds to the test with new flavours and features. Teens are particularly drawn to the latest packaging, like the new layout of Stride Doodles packs. The pellet format has also performed particularly well with the launches of Dentyne Rush (powder-filled pellets) and Excel small bottles.
Consumer promotions can help keep things exciting for your customers, so work with your supplier sales reps to successfully run these major programs. Place promotional materials at the cash or along the path to purchase, keep all displays fully stocked, and ensure all materials clearly communicate the offer and pricing.
C-gas retailers who take these steps toward improving their own gum sales could go a long way in helping to spark renewed growth in the category.
Top tips for enhancing gum sales:
1. Head to the front and centre. Gum SKUs should have space at your front counter where customers will be more likely to make that impulse buy.
2. Get visible. Use promotional displays and POS materials to create awareness about new and bestselling gum products.
3. Never run out. Keep your bestsellers in stock at all times; the top 30 gum SKUs contribute to 64% of all gum sales.
4. Make it easy. Ensure your gum shelves are organized according to the latest planogram so customers have quick access to their most-wanted SKUs.
5. Tell everyone. Suggest a gum purchase to every customer; gum sales can increase by 250% when front counter display is combined with suggestive selling.
Insights provided by Elisabeta Catana, category advisor, Mondelēz Canada
 Nielsen, National C&G, L52 weeks, period ending Dec. 29, 2012.
 Nielsen MarketTrack, YTD, period ending Oct. 27, 2012.