Power is not enough

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This was the motto of the recent event organised by German battery manufacturer Varta, with some 100 years of heritage and the number two position in the Europe battery market, to present its latest line-up of products.

The market

The battery market in the UK, worth £420 million, is larger than the market for baked beans or shampoo and yet it confuses both customers and retailers not only with the product options and their features but also with their applications. For retailers batteries represent a very attractive profit opportunity and they don’t take up much of the precious retail space.

Although alkaline batteries take a dominant share of the market (88%), their sales are static, zinc batteries are in rapid decline, but rechargeable batteries, constituting 10% of the total market, are the fastest growing segment.

More than 75% of all batteries are sold on impulse. Since the majority of consumers do not understand manufacturers’ segmentation, over 33% of them walk way from making a purchase if they are not advised about the product or size required, according to an industry survey.

Varta’s proposition

These considerations lay behind Varta’s launch of its new battery range, the improved design of packaging and retail support material. The new range, based on varying levels of energy output, consists of three models. The  Long Life Extra batteries are designed to provide a continuous output of long lasting energy for low current devices such as clocks or remote controls. The High Energy batteries, with expanded graphite contents, are made for power-hungry devices such as radios or electronic toys. The MaxTech models, whose innovative zinc formula improves speed of energy flow within the battery, are manufactured for high tech devices such as personal audio players or mobile phones.

At the same time, Varta is rolling out a new range of rechargeable batteries, in all sizes, with some Ready 2 Use models – already charged for instant use. Throughout the year, the company will be launching a number of chargers, such as a 15-minute charger, a 12V travel charger, emergency charger for mobile devices such as laptops or phones, solar charger and portable power station for all portable products, together with a variety of LED flashlights and torches.

The advantages of the new ranges are reflected on the new packaging which clearly indicates which devices should be powered by them. Varta is also introducing PoS material, including stands with side foldable panels which provide additional information about batteries and facilitate customer choice. Some of the promotional material will feature Varta’s sponsorship of double British Rally champion Guy Wilks.

Vince Armitage, divisional vice-president at Varta Consumer Batteries UK, said to IER: “Today’s launch demonstrated that Varta, with its range of new products and strategy which resonates with the market needs, is a good alternative to leading battery brands on the UK market. The next step for us is to find appropriate distribution channels for our products, since the UK market is very diverse in this respect. Once we establish who our trade partners are we are going to work out the terms of these partnerships.”

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