President Barack Obama and his band of hopey-changers are not going to appreciate the findings of a recent nationwide poll of nearly 800 main household grocery shoppers which reveals, by a very sizeable margin, that American consumers appear to be at odds with recent reports that the economy has improved.
Eight out of ten supermarket shoppers see no improvement in the economy, and forty percent actually believe things have gotten worse. As consumers continue to cope, the study affirms, the appeal of store brand products is stronger than ever and may even be intensifying.
Among the study highlights:
- For most American shoppers, the recovery has yet to begin. Asked whether the economy has changed over the past few months, 40% said conditions were worse, while another 42% said things have stayed the same. Fewer than one in five felt the economy had improved.
- As a result, the recent surge in store brands sales is likely to continue. When asked how important economic conditions were in deciding to buy a supermarket store brand, four in ten responded “very important.” A solid majority of consumers — more than six in ten — said they plan on buying more private label as they attempt to stretch their food dollars. Another finding that may also accrue to store brands’ benefit: Half of shoppers intend to spend less money on groceries in the months ahead.
- Consumer awareness of store brands is also rising. More than half of respondents said they are more aware of store brand products now than they were a year ago.
- Moreover, shoppers who identify themselves as “frequent” buyers of store brands are at an all-time high. Some 57% say they buy private label products frequently, a figure that has been increasing (it was under 55% a year ago).
- A greater number of shoppers are switching to store brands in product categories where they had previously only purchased a national brand. Some 43% report they have recently forsaken a familiar national brand for a private label counterpart, a marked increase since June 2009 when only 35% said they had done so.
- Virtually all of the shoppers who switched are pleased with their decision. Ninety-seven percent compared store brands favorably to their previous national brand choices in the same categories. About half said that their store brand selections compare “very favorably,” a dramatic increase from the June 2009 study when only one quarter reported that.
The findings are based on a poll conducted in February 2010 by GfK Custom Research North America for the Private Label Manufacturers Association, New York. The full report, entitled “Recession, Recovery and Store Brands” is available for download here.