Private Brands: From Last-Choice Alternative to First-Choice Competitor

Private Brands: From Last-Choice Alternative to First-Choice Competitor


Private Brands: From Last-Choice Alternative to First-Choice Competitor

Private brand products began as a low-cost option whose primary attraction for shoppers derived from the financial savings. But in recent years, that image has changed. Private or store brands, have evolved into genuine competitors, occupying prime shelf space alongside their national-brand counterparts and featuring improved quality, stylish packaging, and unique flavors. Private brands are no longer the choice of last resort; they are destination-worthy products that comprise nearly a quarter of all supermarket sales.

In this paper, we will examine the growth of private brands and the consumer behaviors behind it as they relate to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

  • The Physiological motivation, how Sensory Upgrades stimulate the senses, and thereby impact consumer purchases by offering products that look, smell and taste good.
  • The Safety motivation, where shoppers are concerned about Financial Security and Brand Reliability; in other words, helping them address how to save money while continuing to feed their families well.
  • The Belonging motivation, where peoples’ social needs for belonging build on the combined requirements for safety and savings, resulting in the trade-offs people are willing to make through scrimp-and-splurge spending patterns.
  • The Esteem motivation, where consumers want to feel good about their choices, find ways to solve problems, and ultimately boost their self-esteem through products that allow them to experience ‘the thrill of the hunt’ and formulate the solution to the problem.

While these factors have already been feeding the increasing sales of private brand products, the current economic recession has propelled it even further. Just as private brands have begun to come into their own, consumers need lower-cost products to stretch their food budgets. Ironically, the unstable fiscal climate has created an opportunity for continued growth in this sector.



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