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IRI Finds Consumers Turn to Private Brands for Better Value, Not Just Better Price

IRI Consumer Connect Survey reveals private brand dollar sales grew 3.8% in 2019, twice the rate of national brands

CHICAGO — Nov. 5, 2019 — Although 57% of consumers say their financial health is good, fears of a recession are driving slightly less consumer confidence in Q3 2019, according to the latest IRI® Consumer Connect Survey results released today. Expecting to face a recession — or, perhaps more likely, a “semi-recession” — consumers are increasing their savings as a precaution for maintaining financial stability. IRI examined how such shopping behaviors and attitudes are affecting private label sales in its Q3 2019 Consumer Connect report, “Beyond Price, Consumers Find Value in Private Brands.”

“While shoppers across generations and income groups in 2019 are undoubtedly more price conscious, they are turning to private label because of their positive perceptions of the value,” said Joan Driggs, vice president of Content and Thought Leadership. “Shoppers are buying private brands because it makes them feel good to save money without sacrificing taste, selection or quality. The improved consumer perception of private label value is having a growing influence on store choice, with many leading retailers offering premium private label selections.”

The Consumer Connect Index, which monitors consumers’ financial health and CPG behaviors for factors such as brand loyalty, attitudes toward organic/natural food and beverages, perception of national compared to store brands, and frequency of using retailers’ and manufacturers’ coupons, decreased by almost three points in Q3 2019. However, consumers feelings about their household’s financial health in Q3 2019 is on par with sentiment in Q3 2018. Despite that fact, consumers are increasing their savings to maintain financial stability as a precaution in the event of an economic downturn. Consumers report they are saving more in 2019 (42%) compared to a year ago (38%), and 56% of households earning $100,000 or more say their savings have grown in the past six months. The rate of increased savings is fairly consistent across all generations but is most common among Generation Zers.

Popularity of Private Label
Across generations and income groups, consumers are buying private label, with 99.9% of shoppers buying private brands today. Faced with a vast selection of consumables in a typical store, consumers see private label as a go-to solution in the stores they trust. As a result, traditional retailers are doubling down on their store brand strategy and are offering more premium selections.

Younger, senior and lower- to middle-income consumers are key targets for private label growth. Millennials demonstrate the highest adoption of private label products, increasing 10% in 2019 from 2018, outpacing their adoption of national brands. Millennials are moving into higher-spending years, so demonstrating value, quality and innovation will be key to continued adoption.  

Among categories, home care is showing above-average growth, whereas other nonedible departments’ growth rates are slowing. Across edible departments, private label unit sales growth slowed, but frozen and beverage are outpacing total category and national brand sales in Q3 2019.

“Private label is experiencing growth that outpaces that of national brands and has increasing influence on store choice among consumers, especially among Gen Z,” continued Driggs. “However, there remains room for improvement. Packaging image has been found to be a purchase barrier among millennials and light buyers. In addition to packaging, retailers should continue to find ways to innovate. Don’t wait for national brands to lead with trends, such as plant-based, functional and wellness products.”

About the IRI Consumer Connect Survey
IRI provides new survey results at the end of each calendar quarter covering shoppers’ behaviors and attitudes as they directly relate to their strategies for learning about, purchasing, and utilizing CPG and health care products, as well as information regarding perceptions of economic conditions and their ability to provide for their families. For more information about customizing the research for a particular category or industry, please contact

About the IRI Partner Ecosystem
IRI fundamentally believes that delivering differentiated growth for clients requires deep, highly integrated partnering with a variety of best-of-breed companies. As such, IRI works closely with a broad range of industry leaders across multiple industries and sectors to create innovative joint solutions, services, and access to capabilities to help its clients more effectively collaborate and compete in their various markets and exceed their growth objectives. IRI is committed to its partnership philosophy and continues to actively enhance its open ecosystem of partners through alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions and affiliations. The IRI Partner Ecosystem includes such leading companies as 84.51°, Adobe, Boston Consulting Group, Clavis Insight, Comscore, Data Plus Math, Dynata, Edison, Experian, GfK, Gigwalk, Google, Ipsos, Jumpshot, Mastercard Advisors, MaxPoint, Ogury, Omnicom, One Click Retail, Oracle, Pinterest, Simulmedia, SPINS, Univision, Viant and others.

About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information, visit

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IRI Contact:
Shelley Hughes
Phone: +1 312.474.3675

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