Scanning-Based Services and the Nielsen Contribution

Norman Staples
A C Nielsen

The known strengths of scanner based services are, firstly, the fast collection of data; secondly, their provision of short interval measurement; thirdly, that they offer a precise measurement with accurate identification and classification of products, and, fourthly the ability to supply the client with discrete reporting periods. But there are also weaknesses or limitations – especially initially – with scanning-based services.

The first is their incomplete or dubious representation of the universe. In the UK today, there are 440 grocery outlets with scanning installations. A good many of these are Sainsbury and Asda stores: Tesco have nine in operation and have recently announced a new phase in this development. But individual retail groups are each developing scanning in the way they want to develop it. It is the retailers who decide when and where they want to use scanning equipment, which means difficulties for the researcher in obtaining a nationally representative sample.