THE FAIRPRICE EFFECT
Will Prime’s appeal and apparent cool factor be dampened by its availability at a mainstream retailer like Fairprice? Experts said it remains to be seen.
“This depends on how widely the drink is stocked among Fairprice outlets. There is some control to restrict availability. (It) also depends on if the brand can sustain interest and purchase intent among its customers,” said Dr Boey Yew Tung, a senior lecturer at Nanyang Technological University’s business school.
NUS’ Dr Elhajjar said Fairprice’s involvement has the potential to further fuel the hype around Prime.
“With its extensive network of stores across Singapore, Fairprice could significantly expand the reach of Prime, exposing it to a wider audience that might not have previously been aware of the product,” he added.
But given that some of the high price tags associated with Prime are partly a result of its limited availability, the standard retail price offerings at Fairprice might also diminish the drink’s value or “mystique”, making it seem less special, said Dr Elhajjar.
“If Fairprice regularly stocks Prime, it may become easily accessible to a broader audience, diluting the sense of exclusivity and reducing its allure.”
Ms Sau from SP said: “If FairPrice does not bring in the product, another supermarket chain might. Given the hype around the Prime brand, FairPrice would definitely benefit as one of the first retailers to bring in the product.”
When CNA visited Wisteria Mall’s Fairprice Finest, a display of Prime Hydration took centre stage at the supermarket’s entrance, with a crowd of youngsters eyeing the drinks.
SUSS’ Dr Chang said a traditional supermarket like Fairprice offering a “trendy product” could revitalise the NTUC brand’s image and attract a younger audience to the store.
“However, it also comes with certain risks, particularly because the brand has a controversial reputation. This controversy primarily revolves around caffeinated products, which may not be suitable for children. While FairPrice exclusively sells non-caffeinated variants, there’s a concern that the brand’s association with the controversial product may negatively impact the supermarket’s overall image,” she said.
Replying to queries from CNA, Fairprice said response to the Prime drink at its Finest stores has been “overwhelmingly positive, resulting in outstanding sales”.
“There are plans to introduce new flavours for our valued customers while we monitor demand,” a spokesperson said.
“We remain committed to sourcing these trendy products and beverages from reputable suppliers to ensure that prices are competitive and reasonable.”
Mr Haikkel said SGFR was “not very concerned” about Fairprice selling Prime and that this competition was something they had anticipated from the start. Retailer Mustafa also sells Prime Hydration.
“I think it is great that NTUC brought in Prime. There’s so many flavours of Prime. NTUC is allowing them to try the six basic flavours. It gives people in Singapore more access to the drink,” he said.