I spoke with someone recently who said that the key to knowing whether consumers would continue their new frugal shopping patterns was assessing how much pain they caused. If a new behavior turns out to be painless—say, driving a few extra blocks to Safeway to get cheaper gas—it will become a long-term habit. If it turns out to be disagreeable—say, forcing your kids to eat the private label cereal they really don’t like—consumers will abandon it the second they have a few extra dollars.
A recent study by comScore gives hope to brands that are worried that shoppers’ defection to private label will become a long-term habit. According to comScore, less than 50% of consumers say they are currently buying the brand “they want most.” It varies by category, but the number indicating they are sacrificing when they choose CPG products has increased by double digit percentage points in the past two years.
If consumers had really embraced private label—its variety, its quality, its equity—they would no longer have another brand “they want most.” But, more than half of them still do. So while some shoppers will remain private label converts for life, many will come back to their favorite brand, when they can afford it. But brands have to keep the relationship going in the meantime.
Do you agree?