Market Research 101 continues this week with an in-depth exploration of competitor monitoring mystery shops. Sure, competitor monitoring mystery shops are a little bit like spying, but it’s also just really good business and everybody else is doing it.
Grocers beware, Aldi is coming for you, your margins, and your customers (protect your millennials!). The German discounter, which currently operates 1,800 stores in 35 states, was just named Retailer of the Year by Supermarket News, its second such victory in the past four years.
How hot is it? Consider some numbers: Since 2000, US sales have grown by 150%, which is more than the sum growth for all other condiments combined (yes, all of them: ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce…). In 2015, Euromonitor noted that sales of hot sauces grew at nearly twice the rate as other packaged goods writ large. Spicy products have a 20% compound annual growth rate over the last 10 years. Oh, and as of last count, more than half the American population has at least one bottle of hot sauce in their fridge. All this means that, within the next five years, hot sauce will be a $1.65 billion industry.
Last week, we wrote about how Coke was set to debut its own alco-pop in Japan, marking the first branded foray into alcohol in the company’s history. This got us thinking about the alcohol-in-a-can market in general, and before long, we were researching (yes, both traditional research and enthusiastic taste testing - for science) the newest wave of cocktails in a can.
To bastardize Dolly Parton, you can make a lot of money selling things for cheap. Dollar General, the grocery and home goods discounter, has been on quite the run over the past decade or so: their stock price has quadrupled since 2009 and they have exceeded earning estimates 4 consecutive quarters—over which time their stock price has increased more than 35%. Last year they pulled in $5.9 billion in revenue, an 11% increase, with a 4.6% increase in same store sales. And all this amidst what is supposed to be an impending retail apocalypse.