Private Brand “Triers” have been converted to “Believers”

Shopper Research Confirms Economy is Improving and Buying Patterns Have Changed
Latest trend data shows fewer buying Private Brand overall, but those that do are buying more of it.

In the just completed wave of shopper research on Private Brand usage conducted by Perception Research Services (PRS), fewer shoppers reported purchasing Private Brand products on a regular basis, compared to the last wave conducted in July (84% vs. 94%), but those buying Private Brand are buying more of it (average number purchased up 25% from 4.8 to 6).

Paper Products continues to be the leading Private Brand category purchased, with increases evidenced across almost all categories, and the largest seen for Cereal (+20%), Cleaning Products (+19%), Cookies and Frozen Meals (both +14%).

These findings coincide with recent optimistic economic indicators, including the latest report from The Conference Board showing an increase in their Consumer Confidence Index, after seeing a major decline in July. In addition, the latest GDP figures are up, as are reported sales at U.S. retailers – the most in 7 months.

However, the data suggests that while the penetration of Private Brand usage may have peaked, a significant portion of “triers” have been converted to “believers” who now choose the Private Brand alternative for more types of products.

“We’re seeing a new paradigm in shoppers’ attitudes – forced to seek less expensive alternatives for economic reasons, and having found satisfying options, they now need a compelling reason to pay more,” according to Jonathan Asher, Senior Vice President of PRS.

We’ve even heard from higher income shoppers that “value is the new chic.”

“These trends point to some interesting challenges and opportunities for both Retailers and National Brand Manufacturers,” Asher continues.  “Retailers cannot sit back and assume that economic conditions alone will lead to an ever-increasing share-of-market for their own brands. They must continue to invest in their brands as they have during the past few years, improving their product offerings and the packages they come in.”

“And for National Brand Manufacturers, the need for innovation has never been more critical. Shoppers must be given a meaningful reason to pay more. And as the economy continues to improve, they will likely be increasingly eager to find those small indulgences with which they’ll be happy to reward themselves, at long last.”

The four waves of this research were conducted in May, 2009, and January, July, and November, 2010, across the U.S., among roughly 600 primary household grocery shoppers aged 18-64. To learn more, visit

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.