American consumers are showing more loyalty to regular CPG brands than they did 3 years ago, according to new survey results from IRI Worldwide. Some 39% of respondents indicated that they are trying new brands priced below regular brands, down from 46% reporting this behavior in Q2 2011. Similarly, fewer respondents – 31% in Q2 compared to 39% in Q2 2011 – are giving up some of their favorite brands. Despite those positive trends, few consumers only purchase their preferred brands over cheaper options.
In this year’s survey, 15% of respondents reported purchasing only preferred brands, though others are less expensive. That represented a slight uptick from 12% in Q2 2011, but was still outweighed by the share of consumers trying brands priced below regular brands.
Nevertheless, the results suggestÂ a more “cautiously optimistic” shopper: the Q2 survey results show that 51% are cutting back on non-essential items, down from 60% in Q2 2011. Those results align with recent research into consumer spending trends, which have found that:
- Fewer consumers are cutting back on small-ticket items this year compared to last; although
- When it comes to spending trends, deal-seeking behavior remains prevalent.
Overall, shopper sentiment remains higher than it did at the beginning of 2011. The latest IRI Shopper Sentiment Index, a measure of how the economy is impacting consumers and their approach to grocery shopping, showed a score of 117 (the baseline score of 100 was set for Q1 2011). Millennials’ sentiment this past quarter was 102, far better than last year’s Q2 score of 94. Gen Xers (122) and Baby Boomers (117) posted strongÂ index scores; scores above 100 reflect “consumers who are less price driven, more loyal to favorite brands and better equipped to maintain their desired lifestyle without changes as compared to Q1 2011.”
Separately, a new study from Nielsen finds increasing consumer confidence in the US, with 49% of consumers in Q2 saying now is a good or excellent time to buy the things they want and need. That’s up from 42-43% during the prior 4 quarters.