US store brands on the shopping list

According to a recent survey by PLMA (Private Label Manufacturers Association) consumers are now buying more store brands than ever. One of the main findings is that 63% of the shoppers have changed their food buying habits as a result of the recession and the following financial effects on the household budget. Out of this majority of the surveyed consumers 2/3 say that they are now buying store brands or private label products also in categories where they used to buy only national brands.

This is interesting and from a packaging point of view the result of growing private label shares for the reason of saving money is cheaper packaging and less extra features. It could also be larger sizes to get the price per weight or volume down. But it could also be to go back to packaging basics.

The latest report from CCI (The Consumer Confidence Index) shows that the consumer confidence is declining again, the second time after a long series of monthly reports showing improvements. At the same time we can read that June retail sales are better than expected for luxury and department stores.

We are looking at a polarisation where the markets for both the more luxurious products as well as the basic models are having a peak. The recession brings on a bit of everything but the important question is what will happen next. Will the consumers who left the national brands go back or will they stay with the newfound private labels? For how long will the retail sales in the upper end of the market keep on increasing?

For the packaging supplier there seems to be room for all kinds for the moment.