General Merchandise/HBC

Do Americans Prefer Name Brands or Store Brands?

Harris Poll reveals which categories sway consumers one way or the other

NEW YORK -- How often do Americans reach for "name-brand" products over the store-brand options available? Americans tend to purchase name brands for food and beverage products where flavor, arguably, differs more between brands, according to a Harris Poll of 2,276 U.S. adults surveyed online between Nov. 12 and 17, 2014.

private label vs. brand cereal Harris Poll (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

This at least seems to be true for a majority of Americans who default to name brands when purchasing breakfast cereal (62%), carbonated soft drinks (58%), bagged snacks (58%), prepared frozen foods (56%), coffee (55%) and yogurt (54%). Additionally, pluralities buy name-brand fruit juice (49%).

On the other hand, when it comes to food and beverage products that are the "blank slates" of household staples, Americans reach for the store-brand option. Majorities purchase store brands for milk (60%), frozen vegetables (51%), and cooking oil (50%); pluralities buy the store brand option for canned vegetables (48%), dry pasta (47%) and bottled water (40%).

Wrapping up the food and beverage considerations, Americans are largely split on their brand buying habits when it comes to cheese (44% store brand vs. 48% name-brand), bread (44% vs. 46%) and frozen meats or seafood (39% vs. 41%).

Considering other types of household products, majorities of Americans purchase store brands for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs (60%) and paper products (51%), but rely on name-brand products for cleaning products (55%). For family members of a different persuasion, only the best will do, with pluralities opting for name-brand pet food (44%).

In many instances, income differences coincide with brand choice differences, namely individuals from higher-income households are more likely to purchase name brands compared to those from lower-income households. For all product types surveyed, with the exception of milk and prepared frozen foods, those with an income of $100,000 or higher are more likely than those earning less than $35,000 to purchase name brands for each product.

Differences exist among generations as well. In several cases, millennials are less likely to purchase name-brand products compared to their older counterparts:

  • Both baby boomers and matures are more likely than millennials to turn to name brands for coffee (58% & 62% vs. 48%, respectively).
  • Gen Xers, baby boomers, and matures are all more likely than millennials to reach for name-brand paper products (47%, 46%, & 50% vs. 37%), dry pasta (46%, 46%, & 47%, vs. 33%), and frozen vegetables (37%, 39%, & 38% vs. 26%).
  • Gen Xers are more likely than any other generation to choose name brands for a number of categories: carbonated soft drinks (67% vs. 53% millennials, 58% baby boomers, & 54% matures), cleaning products (62% vs. 51%, 55%, & 49%) and pet food (54% vs. 41%, 46%, & 29%).

Men and women have a few different preferences, as well:

  • Women purchase name brands more than men for many products: breakfast cereal (65% vs. 58%), yogurt (57% vs. 50%), pet food (47% vs. 41%) and paper products (47% vs. 40%).
  • On the other hand, women buy store brands more than men when it comes to milk (64% vs. 57%), OTC drugs (65% vs. 55%), food storage bags and other containers (58% vs. 49%) and frozen vegetables (55% vs. 47%).
  • Men show stronger name-brand preferences for dry pasta (46% vs. 38%) and OTC drugs (31% vs. 25%).

Click here to view detailed results.

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