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Name brand versus generic brand preferences

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Every day, brand marketers and retailers alike strive to lure shoppers toward name brand products, whether over the competition or over the generic alternatives. In this pursuit, it is important to take a step back and consider the decision from the consumer’s perspective. What drives someone to choose the name brand product versus its generic counterpart? How do these sentiments vary based on product?

These questions and more are answered in this week’s DISQO Discovery.

For the typical shopper, deciding between name brand and generic brand products can sometimes be a thoughtful deliberation. Other times, minimal thought or searching goes into the purchase. Regardless, people have preferences as to when they choose to purchase name brand versus a generic or store brand item.

In an effort to understand these motivators, we asked over 19,000 members of the DISQO Audience for their perspective.

According to the study, participants have a greater affinity for name brand items (58%) compared to a generic alternative (42%). To the likely relief of brand marketers, 86% of respondents claim that there are certain products for they will only purchase the name brand option.

Digging a bit deeper, preference for name brand varies by product category. Specifically, people were most apt to declare they only buy name brand products for:

  • Electronics (48%)
  • Large appliances (39%)
  • Shoes (35%)
  • Perfume & cologne (31%)
  • Self-care products (29%)

Interestingly, people also reported that they were more likely to turn to name brands for groceries (26%) and pet products (24%) than they were for clothing (23%).

Knowing the what & when of name brand preferences, we asked the DISQO Audience about the motivators behind these decisions. Unsurprisingly, nearly half (46%) of people choose name brand products because of higher perceived quality. Other factors include brand trust (5%), brand reputation (4%), and brand recognition (1%).

Do these sentiments affect self-reported purchase behavior? By comparing reported shopping behaviors of name brand and generic items side by side, we see that the results are relatively close.

For instance, 53% of people claim to buy name brand products often or all the time, compared to 57% for generic brand items. Meanwhile, 8% claim to purchase name brand products rarely or never while 6% claim the same for generic brands.

The fact that preference and claimed shopping behaviors are not in perfect alignment was to be expected. After all, factors such as price, promotion, and availability may affect actual purchase decisioning. This, in turn, poses an opportunity for smaller brands to grab the attention of consumers on edge.

While people may be more strict with purchasing certain items under specific brands, there is still significant room in other product categories where name brands may not be a top concern. Understanding all the factors that go into consumer’s purchasing decisions is key to attracting and gaining loyal return customers.

About the Study
Conducted in August 2019, this survey reached over 19,000 members of the DISQO Audience. Participants were asked a series of questions about their purchasing habits and preferences regarding name brand and generic brand products.

Join the Conversation.
How often do you purchase name brand products compared to generic brands? Do you prefer one over the other? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or Facebook.

DISQO’s greatest advantage is the opportunity to peek into behavior behind the forbidden “walled gardens’’ by using their identity-based platform instead of using 3rd party cookies to capture ad exposure.”

Bruce Williams

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