Shelf Share: A Revealing Research Tool

Deirdre Kennedy, an analyst for Gap Intelligence, has written extensively about shelf share in the retail space. Her explanation of the term is comprehensive and her examples are particularly relevant to the display trade.

Shelf share is ‘the percentage of a store’s shelf that is owned by a particular segment’; it is similar to market share. For example, in TV retail share, Gap Intelligence’s data shows that Samsung currently dominates the US retail space with a 35% shelf share, followed by LG at 16% and Vizio at 10%.

Combined with other data, such as the manufacturer’s product focus, shelf share can be used to make assumptions about the health of a vendor in a particular market. For example, Samsung has a healthy business, as it has a lot of units in retail. However, the reverse is not necessarily true; Sharp and Sony have a smaller shelf share, but they have a more selective product mix than Samsung, which offers ‘something for everyone’.

A picture of the market can be gained by looking at shelf share over time. Comparing share in September 2014 to the same point in 2012, Samsung dramatically increased its shelf share. The data also shows an overall contraction of the TV market; 12 manufactures with a share above 1% in 2012 fell to 8 manufacturers in 2014. In addition, Panasonic’s shelf share fell from 6% to sub-1%. Gap’s data shows similar falls from Magnavox, Philips, Insignia, Westinghouse and Coby.

Overall shelf share can be used to see what markets a company is investing in. For example, Toshiba has a 2% share of the TV shelf in retail stores, but a 4% share online – indicating that the company could be emphasising its online business.

More detail about particular vendors can also be picked up from shelf share. Best Buy offers 207 different TV models – more than any other retailer tracked by Gap Intelligence. These TVs are supplied by 11 manufacturers, each with at least a 2% share of Best Buy’s shelf space. The amount of space can tell how much a vendor has chosen to invest with a particular retailer; data from Best Buy shows that Samsung is investing with the store heavily, as are LG, Sharp, Sony and Vizio. Walmart’s shelf space is dominated by Vizio, with a 33% share, compared to 9% at Best Buy. This indicates that the brand is showcasing its appeal to cost-conscious consumers.

Brand identity is also apparent by looking at the TV brands available at a retailer. Walmart stocks several brands that are not present in Best Buy, which indicates that those vendors are focused on the low-end TV market. The brands and products at Best Buy, however, are chosen to target shoppers looking for more premium electronics.

What shelf share cannot do is be used to generate conclusions about sales data. A large shelf share provides a brand with more opportunities to sell its product, but does not necessarily lead to high sales.

Display Daily Comments

We use a similar concept in our PageShare data in the Dynamic Focus report in our Large Display Monitor newsletter. (BR)