Is it true that consumers are now buying store brands instead of their favorite national brands in order to save money? Epsilon Targeting’s ICOM division recently studied this topic. The survey results show that consumer behavior, when it comes to brands, may be linked to emotion for their loved ones – specifically kids and pets.282127_dog_and_cat

The top level findings indicate that about half of consumers have switched to store brands for the following categories:

  • Food and household products
  • Health products
  • Personal care products

But when it comes to buying pet or child care products for Junior, Fluffy and Fido, fewer than 1 in 4 consumers say they are changing brands. ICOM Marketing Director Warren Storey calls this the ‘less risk means more switch’‘ trend.  He argues that perceived risk is what’s ‘driving these key consumer decisions’.  Storey also says that marketers should refine their promotions to target customer psychology.

I agree that marketers must play to customer psychology. But I wonder about the risk-switch correlation. If that were the case, wouldn’t consumers be just as worried about the quality of unbranded food or medicines? Perhaps another trend is at work here. Parents may be willing to sacrifice their own preferences but children are very brand savvy and parents may be purchasing their favorite products to keep them happy. By extension, many pet owners now consider themselves pet parents and may continue to purchase the brand they believe makes their pet happiest.

[Source: Epsilon Release, 7.09.09]