E-commerce snacks: PepsiCo's Lay chips crowned Super Bowl winner

Profitero said healthy nibbles won't overtake mainstream snacks during the Super Bowl season any time soon. Pic: ©iStock/gpointstudio

Lay’s chips was the top selling snack brand during the 2017 Super Bowl, leading Amazon's top 100 best-selling products list in the two weeks leading up to the event.

Worldwide, Amazon updates its 100 best-selling products in each category hourly. E-commerce analytics firm Profitero daily monitors the lists in the US, analysing performance over specific time periods to produce a cumulative ranking of best-selling products.

Among the best-selling chip brands on Amazone during the two week period leading up to the 2017 Super Bowl, Lay’s lead with 12 products, compared to Frito Lay that sold nine varieties; Stacey’s, eight; Kettle Brand, seven; and Pringles, seven.

“The chips category is very consolidated. For example, the top five brands accumulate 43 out of our FastMover 100 products, contrasting with categories like clothing or beauty where the top five brands account only for 25 of the best-selling products,” said marketing insights analyst at Profitero, Jorge Castrejon.

Several of Amazon’s top bestsellers in the chips category included large package sizes (+10oz) with eight of them labeled as “party size”.

Snacks perform online

Profitero research noted potato chips were particularly popular during the Super Bowl season, with 25 products listed on the site. Mix and variety packs ranked second with 18, followed by tortilla chips, 17; corn chips, eight; and pita chips, eight.

Recent Euromonitor data reported the US retail value of potato chips has seen a 15% increase since 2011, posting nearly $9,230m at the end of 2016. The salty snacks category in general grew by 20.8% during the same period.

“The consumer's lifestyle has changed, opening opportunity in new segments,” Castrejon said. “Pita chips is an example of this, as it is [one of the] top preferences online during a seasonal event like the Super Bowl.”

Even though healthy snacks are becoming increasingly popular, Castrejon believed they will not overtake mainstream snacks during the Super Bowl anytime in the future.

“This is not a winner takes all situation… The unique dynamic at Amazon and other online retailers is that items that are underrepresented in physical stores outperform,” he said.

“Whatever the desirable benefit or attribute, niche and on-trend products are simply easier to be found on Amazon… Given how quickly and easily items can be listed and launched on Amazon, it’s a great proving ground for emerging brands and new products.”

Key strategies

Castrejon said Amazon is a dominant search engine, and most shoppers know what they are looking for.

“[Firstly,] it’s essential to have products that have some pre-existing demand,” he said.

“Optimizing content for discoverability is aso key to win on the digital shelf. Making sure that content fields like titles, bullets and description are relevant and compelling is a powerful way to maximize findability,” Castrejon added.

“Finally, during a peak demand period, it’s essential to [have] stock. Shoppers can’t convert to buyers if an item is out-of-stock. Amazon’s algorithm rewards products that sell well and penalize [those] that don’t because they’re out-of-stock.”

Profitero said it does not make seasonal sales predictions, but believed the Super Bowl will prove to be a “big success” for major snack firms given how hungry consumers are for choice and convenience.

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