Poll: Shoppers buying store brands in new categories

New York City A poll released Tuesday by the Private Label Manufacturers Association found that many shoppers are now buying store brands in categories where they were once loyal to national brands.

The report, Store Brands & The Economy, conducted for PLMA by GfK Custom Research North America, also found that the trend toward store brands is likely to continue.

The data found that 63% of shoppers have changed their food buying habits as a result of economic conditions. Of these shoppers, two-thirds report that they are purchasing private-label products in categories where they used to buy only national brand items.

Further, eight in 10 say they will be buying more store-brand products in categories where they previously only purchased the national brand product once the economy returns to normal. The growing popularity of private label extends to all categories, as 76% of shoppers say they will be buying store brands more often.

The study, the latest of PLMA’s series of consumer opinion polls, also documented a number of other ways food buying habits are changing: 91% of shoppers are cutting back on money spent on restaurants, fast food and takeout; nearly nine of 10 shoppers are keeping shopping lists and avoid buying on impulse; and 81% are cutting back on purchasing more expensive items such as fish, meat, prepared meals and convenience products.

About one out of every five shoppers surveyed reported that economic conditions have recently improved. The results reflect an uptick since February, when just 17% saw any improvement. The gain was especially evident among those earning at least $75,000, with 27% now saying the economy has improved. Meanwhile, 41% say conditions have stayed the same and 36% think things have gotten worse.