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As Part of Recession Cutbacks, Consumers Are Stocking up on Private-Label Goods

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Consumers are cutting back in a variety of ways as the recession lingers on. One subtle but important shift can be seen in the rise of generic or private-label brands. According to SymphonyIRI, the private-label consumer-packaged-goods category has seen share of both units and dollars rise in the past two years. An Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey shows that 90% of consumers who are responsible for a majority of grocery shopping are buying as many or more private-label products this year.

Compared to last year chart

Nearly 90% buy at least some private-label products each time they shop.

How often chart

More than value, quality is a consideration. Generic products have come a long ways from the days of the black type on white packaging with catchy names like "BEER." Now, the survey finds, two-thirds of consumers believe that the private-label products are of a comparable quality to their branded counterparts.

Quality chart

Not all generics are created equal. Some categories lend themselves to generic purchases better than others, according to our research. Beverages had the fewest consumers "likely" and the most "unlikely" to purchase of categories tracked.

How likely are you to buy generic chart

The online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers was conducted in mid-November by Ipsos Observer. For more from the survey see "Matters Not if You're Naughty or Nice, Gifts Will Still Be Few" and follow @adagestat on Twitter.

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