‘Reports of subscription termination incorrect’

‘Reports of subscription termination incorrect’

Mumbai: In a bid to clarify its stand, global information and media agency, The Nielsen Company, said that reports about its clients terminating subscription to the agency’s Retail Measurement Services were incorrect.

The clarification came in the wake of media reports which said that several companies from the consumer products sector were terminating their subscription to Nielsen data after finding that the data did not match their own figures.

“If clients insist on looking at monthly data, it will never work. It is not right to compare monthly shipment (of products) to monthly offtake," said Partha Rakshit, managing director, south Asia, The Nielsen Company, explaining that there could be a number of factors leading to a divergence between their figures and those recorded by their clients. Dabur India Ltd, for instance, has stopped subscribing to Nielsen’s data for categories such as juices, confectionary and home care. However, the company continues to use its data for ten other categories including toothpaste and shampoo. Other companies such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, Perfetti Van Melle, etc. among others have had simialr issues with Nielsen data in the past.

Radhika Chandok, executive director, PL-south Asia, The Nielsen Company, maintains that the data for monthly shipments as recorded by clients cannot be compared to the monthly offtake data obtained by Nielsen as there is a fairly large pipeline in-between which can expand or contract depending on manufacturers schemes, promotions and consumer pull. “The best way to look at it is to compare 12 months moving averages of client data with offtake data. In most cases these trend lines show a very good fit."

The Nielsen FMCG Retail Audit obtains data from approximately 16,700 stores out of a universe of approximately 7.5 million stores. It covers 80 categories of consumer-packaged goods, across 605 cities and over 6000 villages. Though the audit covers most of the retail channels, it does not cover army canteens, school and college canteens, hot tea shops, entertainment points, highways, etc. which could lead to some discrepancy in data for categories such as tea, non-carbonated soft drinks, biscuits, salty snacks, etc.