As consumers sought to squeeze every last nickel out of their hard earned dollars, private label brands watched their products fly off the shelves, leaving national brands collecting dust behind them.
It was no surprise that the appeal of lower prices for goods would woo consumers hit hard by higher prices and lost earnings due to layoffs, redundancies and forced retirements.
The surprise is that private label brands continue to be hot sellers, rivaling national brand names nearly a decade later.
How Did National Brands Lose Customers?
As the article, “The unexpected success of private label brands” looks at, they took national brand names by the throat, proving that they could grab market share and keep it, even when the economy slowly turned around.
As consumer confidence rebounded, and retail sales expanded back to what they were, it turned out that national brands had lost loyal customers.
Customers got a taste of what they had thought were inferior private label brands, and discovered they weren’t so inferior after all.
When Did Private Label Brands Get Better?
It’s unclear if private label brands improved on their product quality in response to increased sales or if their products were just as good all along.
What is clear is that now that private label brands have consumers’ attention, they’re making sure they don’t lose it.
More and more private label brands are bettering their products, so they match or exceed the competition’s products.
How Are Private Label Brands Keeping Customers?
Private label brands are paying close attention to consumer buying trends in all industries, including food, home décor and fashion.
Keeping just half a step ahead is their plan to put private label products on every shelf next to national brands that meet the demands of even the most discriminating consumers.
Taste for Bargain Shopping
Consumers also got a taste for bargain shopping during the Great Recession.
They learned that they didn’t always have to pay top dollar for quality like they thought they did. And they found that they had more money at the end of the week when they shopped private labels than when they filled their carts with national brands.
Is Your Business Suffering?
So what does this mean for your business? If you’re doing things right, it shouldn’t mean too much.
You should already be supplying the best product possible, at a reasonable price.
If you’re trying to cut corners with workmanship, or trying to price gouge, then you’re probably already feeling the pain of private labels’ success.
There’s Room for Everyone
Smart consumers aren’t completely eschewing national brands.
Any good shopper will be able to report that some private label brands are just the same as national brands, whereas certain products just have to be the brand name.
So a typical grocery cart, for example, will be filled with a mixed bag of private and national brands. Smart shoppers will save where they can, but they won’t skimp on quality.
Make sure your products are the best in quality, and you’ll be fine, no matter what your brand.
About the Author: Kate Supino writes about ethical business practices.