Global Consumers Don’t Differentiate Between National, Store Brands

Consumers across the globe firmly believe store brands to be the same as, or better than, national brands at providing a range of benefits, according to a study from New York-based market research company Ipsos.

While store brands have worked to distinguish themselves as lower-cost alternatives to national brands, the study indicates that consumers’ interest in store brands goes well beyond their value proposition. At least 80 percent of global consumers surveyed for the study said that store brands are the same as, or better than, national brands in many ways, particularly in terms of meeting their needs, offering convenience, being good for their families, caring about the environment and inspiring trust.

“Our data indicates that store brands are challenging national brands on a number of key brand attributes,” says Gill Aitchison, president of Ipsos Marketing, Global Shopper & Retail Research. “In essence, the brand experience associated with store brands is matching the brand experience associated with national brands — and that is very alarming for national consumer packaged goods marketers.”

The study further found that global consumers are confident that store brands perform just as well as national brands: 81 percent said that store brands offer food products that taste as good and home products that work as well as national brands. The idea that store brands offer lower quality in return for a cheaper price seems to be declining in popularity.

“Store brands are flourishing as a result of product quality improvements in conjunction with the effects of the poor economy on consumers, which has elevated purchasing of store brands,” adds Aitchison. “The level of trust in store brands across many different product areas at a time of distrust in other sectors like financial services may mean that shoppers may be less likely to return to more expensive brands in the future unless the benefits really outweigh the cost — and these will tend to be emotional benefits rather than functional benefits.”

In what respects do national brands have an edge over store brands? Responds Aitchison: “The data from our survey suggests that national brands’ greatest strengths vs. store brands are packaging, innovation, uniqueness and quality. These are important facets of the brand experience, and ones that manufacturers should consider in their brand strategy.”

The study was conducted by Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods via the Ipsos Global @dvisor International Omnibus, an online survey of citizens around the world. Interviews took place between Nov. 4, 2009, and Jan. 13, 2010, and involved an international sample of 21,623 adults aged 18 and over in 23 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the United States and Turkey.

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