June 13, 2011 7 Comments
Regular readers of the blog will know that though I’m a fan of vitaminater as a brand, my belief is that this many varieties of vitaminwater undoubtedly cause cannibalization. vitaminwater spark launched in mid-February, bringing the total count to 11 (9 vitaminwater flavors and 2 vitaminwater10) flavors. spark is a blueberry grape flavor and has all the natural ingredients and healthy benefits that the other alternatives possess – it’s just a different flavor.
Unless spark has a niche following of open wallet consumers, it may follow vitaminwater rescue to be discontinued after some time on the market. In any case, there is only so much demand for vitaminwater, or enhanced waters as a whole. A consumer that chooses any number of flavors will eventually stick to one or two, and keep on going back to these trusted choices. Some (not all) of the remaining flavors may be popular but not to the same level as the favorites. These flavors also remain on shelves contributing to incremental sales. But since a grocery store has limited shelf space and must determine planograms, it is unlikely that all 11 flavors will be on shelf.
So how many flavors does a grocery store carry of vitaminwater, and how much shelf space does vitaminwater get? Without getting into too much detail, vitaminwater’s top 4 flavors make up nearly 60% of their overall sales in the 20oz bottle size. If the store manager or a category manager must make decisions to cut out flavors or keep only the best selling flavors (to make way for new products), usually 4 flavors of vitaminwater are kept. So far, spark is not generating as much sales as XXX, focus, multi-V or essential. Though its still very new to the market, I doubt it will match any of those item’s sales.
Therefore, it is like that there are no volume thresholds that spark must meet in order for glaceau to keep it on shelf, except providing their hydration experts (sales representatives) with incentives to keep pushing this product.
Next time you head into a grocery or convenience store where this product is sold, take a quick count of what flavors of vitaminwater are on shelf, and if spark is among those. If the two new introductions before spark are not even on shelf, then it’s likely that the particular retailer does not have an appetite to try any more vitaminwater flavors.