Although 77 percent of general shoppers compare store brands to brand names, 90 percent of women compare both regularly. This was revealed in The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Groupand 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 where personal stakes are higher, are more difficult areas for private label products to compete.”
Of note, certain demographics (76 percent of African-American shoppers compared to 69 percent 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 percent of Hispanic shoppers and 65 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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.