Penetration and Brand Metrics


The different statistics that marketers measure and use to track the performance of their brand.

Brand Performance Metrics differ between competing brands.

There are brand size metrics, which measure how big a brand is, and brand loyalty metrics which are measures of the behavioural loyalty of a brand’s customer base.

Key Findings

  • Market Share – A measure of the size of a brand; in terms of the amount of sales a brand has. The proportion of all sales in a market for a given brand. Can be measured on a volume basis as the proportion of volume (units) sold or on a value basis as the proportion of sales revenue.
  • Penetration – Also a measure of the size of a brand; in terms of the number of customers a brand has. The percentage of buyers of a category who buy a brand in a specified time period. A category’s penetration is the proportion of the population who buy from the category in a given time period.
  • Penetration depends on the time period of analysis. The longer the time period, the larger a brand’s penetration will be as more people will have had an opportunity to buy the brand.
  • Average Purchase Frequency – How often the customers who bought the brand during a period (its penetration) bought it (on average) during the same period. Together with Penetration, it makes up a brand’s total sales (Penetration x Average Purchase Frequency = Total Sales).
  • Share of Category Requirements – The proportion of category purchases that go to a particular brand in a given period. Depending on the industry, it can also be referred to as ‘Share of Wallet’ and can be represented as ‘Share of Purchase Occasions’ or ’Share of Visits’.
  • Percentage of Solely Loyal Customers – 100% loyals are the consumers of a brand who bought only the brand and no other brand  of the category in a given period of analysis. These are customers who devoted 100% Share of category Requirements to one brand.
  • Over short periods of time, the percentage of 100% loyals will tend to be larger, as most customers will have not made many purchases from the category, and many will have made only 1 purchase, and by definition they must be 100% loyal.
  • Repeat Purchase Rate – The proportion of a brand’s customer base who bought the brand in two (usually successive) periods.
  • Defection Rate – the proportion of a brand’s customer base who stopped using the brand or did not buy the brand in a subsequent period.
  • The Double Jeopardy Law – a pattern of Brand Performance Metrics that is driven by brand size. Larger brands score higher on all brand loyalty metrics and smaller brands suffer twice: fewer customers who are less loyal.
  • Brand Loyalty Metrics vary little between rival brands. Although smaller brands suffer Double Jeopardy, the differences in loyalty between larger and smaller brands is usually only slight.
  • “Of the thousand and one variables which might affect buyer behaviour, it is found that 999 usually don’t matter. Many aspects of buyer behaviour can be predicted from the penetration and average purchase frequency of the items, and even these two variables are inter-related.” Andrew Ehrenberg, 1988

Best Practice

  • The most important metric to focus on for growth is market penetration – the number of customers a brand has.
  • Many Brand Performance Metrics are predictable from market share or penetration. The scores on these metrics are always higher for larger brands.
  • Brand Performance Metrics (and memory-based metrics like attitudes and intentions) must be adjusted for the number of brand users of each brand.