Shoppers Continue to Compare & Researchers Continue to Cliche

In yet another round of research that takes a closely look at the painfully obvious 77% of general shoppers compare store brands to brand names, 90% of women compare both regularly. This was revealed in The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research.

“Certain categories appear to be immune to the store-brand swap,” said Craig Elston, senior vice president, Integer. “Categories that offer shoppers frequent innovations such as performance or variety, and categories were personal stakes are higher, are more difficult areas for private label products to compete.”

The research reveals little of note preferring to lump all national brands into one clichéd bucket while they lump all Private Brands into yet another Tide is no more equal to Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix than the Open Nure from Safeway is equal to Great Value from Walmart.

Certain demographics (76% of African-American shoppers compared to 69% of shoppers in general) say laundry detergent is a category in which brand name is very important to them. Health and beauty is also a category where shoppers prefer a brand name to a private label, with 74% of Hispanic shoppers and 65% of general shoppers stating this.

When it comes to quality perception, brand names have maintained a slight advantage over private labels. The prevailing factor is trust, with 51%of shoppers indicating that they continue to buy brand name products over store-brand alternatives because they trust the brand.

With fewer shoppers purchasing private-label from two years ago, retailers are working hard to build brand identities and nicer packaging for their private labels which is blurring the perceived lines of quality, and based on this survey, shoppers are taking notice — with a 14%decrease since 2010 in the number of shoppers who think brand-name packaging is more attractive than private-label packaging.

Categories with little innovation or new product introductions tend to be easier for private label brands to compete. For example, 68% of shoppers prefer private label brands in the over-the-counter medicine category. As less innovation makes it easier for private labels to imitate brand names in this category, retailers are taking advantage of printing “compare to” lines on their packaging and noting the brand name for comparison.

Data for The Checkout comes from a national survey conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C where consumers are asked about their shopping attitudes, shopping behaviors, and economic outlook. Topics range from criteria shoppers use to select retailers, to which in-store stimulus is most likely to drive purchase, to factors that might lead shoppers to leave an aisle empty-handed. The Checkout is available for download at Integer’s blog www.shopperculture.com.



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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.