A great Summer of Sport that is likely to be dominated by Euro 2016, Wimbledon and the Olympics offers major opportunities for supermarkets and food and drink brands to benefit as the nation comes together to enjoy the sporting occasions.

In its latest Shopper Index, category and shopper management specialist Bridgethorne says that brands and retailers alike need to have strategies in place to maximise these sharing opportunities, whether those occasions are at home or in another venue, and these look set to be different for each event.

The Shopper Index reveals that while we are far more likely to watch Euro 2016 with family or friends in a pub, at home or in a friend’s home, the Olympics look set to be a more predominantly at-home event. Just 9.5% of respondents said they would watch the Olympics in a pub, compared to 31% for the Euros. The younger, 18-34 age group is more likely to watch the Euros with friends than with their family, whereas in life stage terms, families and empty nesters are those likely to be most engaged with the Olympics.

“Understanding shopper behaviour, including how, where and with whom they will be taking in these important sporting events, is key to delivering extra sales. This means ensuring the right products for each event are readily available in store, together with the right promotional mechanics on shoppers’ favourite brands,” explains John Nevens, Joint Managing Director, Bridgethorne.

Savoury snacking is the category most likely to benefit from these sporting events. Nearly two thirds of shoppers say they will buy more savoury snacks than usual, with those in the pre-family and family stages saying they expect to buy more savoury snacks than a normal week. Promotions could be influential for snack brands with 63% of those surveyed saying they would buy savoury snack brands that are on special offer at the time, compared with 34%, who said that it wouldn’t matter if the snack brand they wanted was on offer or not.

Unsurprisingly beer shopping is also likely to increase during these events, with nearly three quarters of those in the family life stage saying they expect to buy more beer. Of those questioned, 71% said that they would buy beer that is on special offer at the time; the 18-34s are the most likely to buy on promotion (79%) compared to just 58% of the over 55s who plan to buy beer on special offer.

“Promotions and range targeted at the shopper is probably going to be the most critical factor in the beer category as often the shopper is not the consumer,” explains John Nevens. “The shopper is predominantly female yet the consumer is predominantly male. Around two thirds of women told us they expect to be buying more beer around these events, presumably the majority of which will be consumed by men.”

The way we will buy wine when we watch these great sporting events is slightly different. Although 61% of the 18-34s and two thirds of the 35-54 age group say they expect to be buying more wine than usual, only a third of the over 55s expect to do so.

There appear to be regional variations too. 74% of shoppers in the South compared to just 56% of shoppers in the North expect to be buying more beer than normal, a situation that is reversed when it comes to wine: 63% of shoppers in the North plan on buying more wine than normal compared to 52% of southern shoppers.

There are two other salient points for brands across all categories to take into account. Despite the efforts of manufacturers to get us to switch allegiance to their brands at these times, the reality is, that 75% of us will not be persuaded to buy a different brand. Efforts instead should be focused on increasing consumption and driving basket spend on our existing favourite brands. Promotions will be key to drive spend, but will probably not be enough to make us switch brands.

And to those brands which have made a significant investment in sponsorship of one or more of these major sporting events events, although huge brand awareness may be created, only 5% of shoppers claimed to know a main sponsor of Euro 2016, with more than half of all shoppers having no interest at all.

The Bridgethorne Shopper Index is a quarterly survey of shopper opinions from  category and shopper management specialist, Bridgethorne. It gauges satisfaction, loyalty and future propensity to purchase.