Poll: Shoppers buying store brands in new categories
New York City A poll released Tuesday by the Private Label Manufacturers Association found that many shoppers are now buying store brands in categories where they were once loyal to national brands.
The report, Store Brands & The Economy, conducted for PLMA by GfK Custom Research North America, also found that the trend toward store brands is likely to continue.
The data found that 63% of shoppers have changed their food buying habits as a result of economic conditions. Of these shoppers, two-thirds report that they are purchasing private-label products in categories where they used to buy only national brand items.
Further, eight in 10 say they will be buying more store-brand products in categories where they previously only purchased the national brand product once the economy returns to normal. The growing popularity of private label extends to all categories, as 76% of shoppers say they will be buying store brands more often.
The study, the latest of PLMA’s series of consumer opinion polls, also documented a number of other ways food buying habits are changing: 91% of shoppers are cutting back on money spent on restaurants, fast food and takeout; nearly nine of 10 shoppers are keeping shopping lists and avoid buying on impulse; and 81% are cutting back on purchasing more expensive items such as fish, meat, prepared meals and convenience products.
About one out of every five shoppers surveyed reported that economic conditions have recently improved. The results reflect an uptick since February, when just 17% saw any improvement. The gain was especially evident among those earning at least $75,000, with 27% now saying the economy has improved. Meanwhile, 41% say conditions have stayed the same and 36% think things have gotten worse.
No good deed goes unpunished
Target received the ire of several gay rights activists last week after it made a $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a non-partisan organization that claims to support candidates it believes will stimulate job and economic growth in Minnesota.
The controversy surrounding Target’s support of MN Forward is based on the group’s endorsement republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who is against gay marriage and defined marriage on his website as a “union between one man and one woman.” Emmer has also drawn criticism for his support of the Christian rock band You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, which is known to have expressed anti-gay sentiments.
MN Forward, according to reports, said it selected Emmer to support because his position on job growth and Minnesota’s economy were in line with its mission.
Though Target may have donated to MN Forward because of its economic position, that didn’t stop GLBT rights groups and their supporters from expressing their displeasure with the company through such actions as boycotting. In response, Target CEO, Gregg Steinhafel issued a statement on the company’s investor relations website, saying that its support of MN Forward did not change its support of GLBT rights.
“As you know, Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth. MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate,” said Steinhafel. “However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda.”
Steinhafel added that Target was still unwavering in its support of the GLBT community and noted that it had earned a rating o 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.
Ashley Furniture engages customers with social networking
ARCADIA, Wis. Ashley Furniture HomeStore announced that it has launched pages on Facebook and Twitter to better connect with its customers online.
Customers are able to follow Ashley on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AshleyHomeStore), while the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AshleyFurnitureHomeStore) allows visitors to browse the hottest styles in furniture and stay updated on the company’s latest promotions, exclusive offers, community events, news, store locations, charities and more, the company reported.
As part of the launch, Ashley said it will also be reaching out to the online community in an effort to raise much-needed funds for the City of Hope, a cutting-edge research and treatment facility for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
“Ashley Furniture Industries has raised over $4 million for this wonderful non-profit facility. But there’s much more research needed,” says Ben Thorud, SVP. “So we’ll be asking our Facebook community to get involved. For every “Like” we receive in the first two months after the launch of our fan page, we’ll donate $0.25 to the City of Hope, up to $10,000.”