TAMPA, Fla. -- Store brands are no panacea for cementing a retailer's relationship with customers, according to the findings of a consumer study released here by the Food Marketing Institute.
The study, conducted for FMI and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Cos., concluded that store brands "are a relatively weak tool for building store loyalty" and "have a limited ability to bring new customers into the store."
It also concluded that store brands play a relatively minor role in determining the consumers' choice of where to shop, ranking below 10 other factors influencing that decision.
Preliminary results from the study, called "Consumer Perspectives on National and Store Brands," were presented at FMI's MarkeTechnics trade show here by Leenie Ruben, president of Market Spectrum, the firm that conducted the research.
Ruben said the study indicated store brands contribute to a store's overall perception of variety. There is room for both national brands and store brands in supermarkets, but chains should conduct their own research category by category to determine how to most effectively integrate store brands, she said.
Market Spectrum tracked the buying behavior of consumers and interviewed them about their choices in five grocery categories: soft drinks, cereals, toilet paper, bags and condiments. The markets chosen were Portland, Ore., Los Angeles/Orange County, Indianapolis, Dallas, Buffalo, N.Y., and Orlando, Fla.
Just under half of all study respondents reported using store brands for at least one of the five categories, while 13% said they usually buy one or more store brands in three or more categories.
The research revealed a profile of store-brand buyers as less loyal both to the brands they buy and the stores they shop. They are also more price-conscious.