Point-of-Sale Data Reveals Marketing Program’s Success in Building Demand for Avocados
Over the past several years, the California Avocado Commission has utilized its Tiered Account Program to maximize sales while monitoring and measuring the sales performance of avocados across the nation, in targeted regions, within markets and at retail chains. Using both AMRIC and retail point-of-purchase sales data, the Commission can fine tune its marketing programs, share detailed sales information with retail partners that encourages them to stock and promote the fruit throughout the season, and study the season’s overall performance in detail.
By examining IRI retail sales data from California — actual cash register scanner data from reporting retail grocery chains in the state — the Commission can review the results of the 2020 California avocado season in the region where most of its marketing resources are employed. Following are highlights based on this data.
According to the data, the 2020 season weekly dollar sales increased by 10% over the prior season and volume was even higher with a 28% increase from 2019. Overall, retail sales at reporting retailers for the entire 2020 season hit $270 million and 214 million units. In comparison, the entire 2019 season reported $208 million in retail sales with 184 million units.
The data also reveals the allure of the California avocado season remains strong. The 2020 California avocado season exhibited a 23% increase in category volume versus the 2020 non-season. This equates to nearly 1.8 million more units sold every week during the California avocado season. Dollar sales also increased with $987,000 more retail dollar sales each week on average during the California avocado season (a 33% increase). Shoppers also demonstrated they were willing to pay 8% more during the California avocado season with an average in-season retail price of $1.26 as compared to $1.17 in the non-California season.
During the early 2020 season, as the state of California put into place stay-at-home orders, avocado sales spiked with more than $11 million in sales during the week ending March 15. This represented a 36% boost in dollar sales over the same time in 2019.
Summer holiday events also sparked increases in retail dollar sales with the highest occurring during the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
In comparing past 4th of July holiday volume, 2020 produced a 36% and 45% increase over 2019 and 2017 respectively.
Memorial Day retail volume sales in 2020 were 46% greater than in 2019 and 50% greater than in 2017.
Labor Day retail volume in 2020 also outpaced previous years with a 30% increase over 2019 and a 74% increase since 2017.
“The results of the past season are a reflection of the Commission’s strategies and programs,” noted Jan DeLyser, CAC vice president marketing. “Our integrated approach of working directly with handlers, reaching out to retailers and foodservice operators, and providing marketing programs, materials and tools (consumer and trade all help to build increasing demand for California avocados.” Even as the volume of avocados increased within the state, a key target for California avocado distribution, consumer demand continued to outpace supply with California retail prices increasing while prices across the rest of the nation declined. In fact, the average retail sales price of avocados in California this year was 17% higher than the rest of the country — reflecting a retail price differential that has been increasing since 2016. As seen below, the compound annual growth rate of the retail sales price of avocados in California continues to outpace the rest of the country.
These positive retail volume and price results did not go unnoticed by the Commission’s retail partners — 100% of CAC’s tracked Tier 1 accounts carried California avocados during 2020. The graphic below demonstrates the high level of engagement and subsequent success experienced by the Commission’s tracked Tier 1 retail partners.