Research has found that 73% of grocery buyers bought ice cream at least once in the last 12 months, a figure that is down by 3% compared to an equivalent study five years ago, though an increase of 1% over January this year.
While the proportion of grocery buyers who purchase ice cream tubs or cartons on a weekly basis is relatively low (3%), almost one in five buy them once a month, and a similar number do so every two to three months.
Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research, which compiled the study, said the market has smoothed out over the last year.
“After four years of decline, the Australian ice cream market has stabilised, with the proportion of grocery buyers purchasing tubs or cartons last year creeping up from 72% to 73%.
Bulla is the most popular ice cream brand, purchased by 20% of grocery buyers in an average four weeks. Peters, the market leader as recently as 2011, is in second place (17%), ahead of Streets (12%). Coles (6%) is the most popular of the supermarket brands.
Grocery buyers purchasing the big ice cream brands in an average four-week period have remained fairly stable since the same time last year.
However, Streets (12%, up from 10%) and Connoisseur (6%, up from 4%) made noticeable gains: Streets with its Blue Ribbon tubs, and Connoisseur with a suite of exotic flavours.
Amid this relatively static market, Connoisseur and Streets ice cream showed the most growth. So who is buying these brands?
According to Roy Morgan, the “New School Cool” group of consumers are a massive 160% more likely than the average Australian to buy Connoisseur ice cream in an average four weeks.
“This high-earning, high-living group enjoys the finer things in life, and Connoisseur’s exotic flavours and premium ingredients would certainly appeal to their gourmet sensibilities,” explained Smith.
Streets, meanwhile, is especially popular among people from the even more affluent Bluechip persona.
“Individuals from this group are typically a little older than New School Cool, and know exactly what they like, from wine to cars to ice cream."