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GMA Survey: National Brand Loyalty High Among American Consumers

WASHINGTON - American consumers are loyal to national brands of food, beverage and consumer products, with nearly half of respondents (49 percent) to a new survey by the Grocery Manufacturers of America indicating that a familiar brand name was the first or second most important element when making a purchase in the supermarket.

The survey showed that 76 percent of Americans in all demographic groups consider a product's brand before making a final product selection. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they would "chase the brand" to a different store if it wasn't available or do so without until the next shopping excursion.

The survey, which explored how national brands influence purchasing decisions among Americans, also revealed that consumers are twice as likely to choose a brand that is of high quality but costs more, than one of average quality that costs less (57 percent to 28 percent). Americans would also pay a higher price for "a product whose taste they enjoy" (41 percent) and a "product with added health and nutritional benefits" (25 percent).

Nostalgia plays a major role in consumers' relationships with a particular brand, according to survey results. In an unprompted, open-ended question, 36 percent of respondents indicated they currently use a particular product because their family had used it for a long time. In a crowded field of six choices, 15 percent said they continue using the brand because they used it growing up.

"Clearly national brands have a prominent place in the hearts and lives of American consumers," said GMA vice president of marketing and communications Gene Grabowski. "While loyalty to national brands isn't blind, consumers are consistently defining value by choosing the quality, innovation and consistency that national brands deliver."

The 56-question survey of 800 adults age 18 or older was fielded April 5 - 8, 2002. The margin of error was calculated at +/-3.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
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