Income Does Not Determine Shoppers’ Private Label Preference

An ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research shows that while income groups differ a bit on their perception about private label (highest-income shoppers are more skeptical about the quality of store brand products), their reported behaviors are very similar. Most shoppers across income groups say they regularly compare prices between private label and national brands, and most shoppers indicate they look for sales and/or coupons before exploring private-label options. This suggests that despite income, all shoppers believe in weighing their various savings options to inform their final assessment of quality over price.

When it comes to specific categories, income groups have fairly similar preferences of brands versus private-label products. The slight differences are that lower-income shoppers are more inclined toward private label in cereal, cleaning, and laundry care, and highest-income shoppers are less inclined toward store brand snacks, beverages, and ice cream. Other than a tendency toward brand-name treats in high-income households, the consistency between the lowest and highest income levels is notable.

“Though one might think that shoppers with means aren’t a flight risk for brands, or that lower-income shoppers don’t have any other options but private-label, our findings suggest otherwise. This means every brand needs to persuade every shopper of its worth,” said Craig Elston, SVP of Insight & Strategy at The Integer Group.

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