Unlocking the Secrets of Index Calculation: A Journey into Data Insights

Welcome to the exciting world of category management! This is where data transforms into gold for both Retailers and Suppliers/Manufacturers. With heaps of data at our fingertips, there are some key measures you should know about to make the most of it. In this blog I'll be covering the "Index" calculation.

Ever heard of the Category Development Index (CDI) and the Fair Share Index (FSI)? They're some of the superheroes of data analysis. But beware, they're often misunderstood!

Now, let's break it down. Indices compare things like last year's sales vs. this year's, or your targets vs. what actually happened. They're super handy for understanding your data and can be a helpful benchmark.

But here's the tricky part: interpreting these indices. People often oversimplify, thinking over 100 is always great and under 100 is not so great. The truth is, it's all about context and strategy.

Let's look closer:

  • Category Development Index / CDI: It's all about comparing your brand's share at a retailer to its share in the market. But remember, a number over or under 100 doesn't tell the whole story. What's the retailer's game plan? That's what matters. Check out my video below that explain more details about this powerful calculation:
  • Fair Share Index / FSI: This one's about measuring how your tactics (like share of shelf, items, promotions or displays) stack up against your category share. Suppliers/Manufacturers, this is crucial for you. Think beyond the number – align with the retailer's big-picture goals. It's important to go beyond simply receiving (or demanding) your "fair share" and instead, strategize and understand why retailers would be willing to give you more than your fair share of a tactic for your brands.
  • Index vs ACV Measure: This is a cool way for retailers to see how developed their categories are relative to the total market. However, it's important to remember that numbers alone don't tell the whole story. To truly excel in category management, you must have a strong understanding of your target shoppers and develop strategies that align with their needs. This means prioritizing certain categories over others based on your shoppers' preferences. Take the time to analyze your competition and consider how you can outperform them. It's not just about the numbers, but about creating a comprehensive and effective category strategy that sets you apart from the rest.

So, what's the takeaway?

  • For Retailers: Forget the standard '100' benchmark. And don't allow your suppliers to persuade you that aiming for indices of 100 for all the brands you carry is the ultimate goal. Set your own goals that mesh with your shopper strategies and category targets.
  • For Suppliers/Manufacturers: Focus less on what you're not getting and more on why a retailer should boost your brands with the data to back it up. This can be determined by the value your brands bring to the retailer's desired customer base, the evolving shopping trends, or other valuable insights about the category that you can extract from the data.

Need more information on the subject?  Don't worry, we've got some cool tools to help you get it right:


I trust that this blog post has provided you with valuable insights into the crucial "Index" calculation. It is essential to go beyond the surface-level numbers and embrace strategic thinking, incorporating your expertise in strategy and category knowledge. Utilize these indices to propel your business forward in innovative and impactful ways.  Let's turn data into your superpower! 🌟📊

Happy learning!  Sue


Topics: Analytics Work, Category Analytics

Written by Sue Nicholls, Founder & President CMKG

Embracing the Joy of Learning and Teaching. Hi there! I'm deeply passionate about training and learning. Since the pioneering days of category management at P&G in the '80s, I've been fortunate to embark on a journey of teaching and inspiring others. My career has been a delightful tapestry woven with long-term collaborations with major retailers and CPG executives, contributing to industry standards, and sharing insights at numerous conferences. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to shape minds as an Adjunct Professor in Marketing, focusing on consumer behavior.

150 Hours of Knowledge and Countless Moments of Insight. Creating over 150 hours of online curriculum and leading hundreds of instructor-led sessions has been an enriching experience. I've had the honor of collaborating with diverse professionals across the globe, adapting to an ever-evolving industry. The goal? To forecast the future and equip our learners with the skills to thrive and stay relevant.

Learning: A Collective Adventure. I believe learning is a dynamic journey that encompasses individuals, teams, organizations, and yes, even us training professionals. It's not about rigid methods but nurturing a continuous, evolving process. My aim through this blog and other platforms is to share my wealth of experience and encourage open, ongoing dialogues. Together, we can enhance any team's ability to implement effective business strategies and realize their strategic goals. Let's embark on this learning adventure together, growing and evolving with every shared experience! Happy learning!