PL Personal Care Products Show Surprising Gains

November 23, 2010
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U.S. consumers in the first half of 2010 shifted to less expensive private labels in all product categories, according to recently released survey by Epsilon Targeting.

U.S. consumers in the first half of 2010 shifted to less expensive private labels in all product categories, according to recently released survey by Epsilon Targeting.


OF the total sampled, 61percent of those surveyed say they switched to private label personal care products, including shampoo and facial moisturizers, while almost 18 percent of respondents say they moved to private label baby goods, including diapers, child pain relievers and baby shampoo. These categories historically have a higher perceived cost of switching, because consumers have been taught they are sacrificing quality if they do so.


This brand shift is a markedly different than Epsilon's May 2009 survey, when only 51 percent of respondents said they purchased private label personal care products, and 13 percent bought baby items.


As is well known, consumers tend to be loyal to national brand shampoos, facial moisturizers and other appearance products. So it’s noteworthy, for instance, that an unexpected 37 percent  of respondents told Epsilon they moved to private label shampoo and conditioner in the past six months.


In contrast, less than three percent of all shampoos and one percent of conditioners purchased at supermarkets in the third quarter were store brands, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), through The Nielsen Co. Among drugstore shoppers, the figures were five percent and four percent, respectively.


However, Epsilon’s findings are supported by the latest PLMA data that show third-quarter unit sales of store brand shampoo and conditioner rose almost 71 percent and 13 percent, respectively, at drug stores alone.

Still, at least 45 percent of respondents say they would buy their usual label of personal care, food or household products again if they had a coupon. More than 44 percent said they would buy their usual brand of health products.


There is less of a stigma associated with trying to save money today, says Epsilon Vice President Warren Story. If consumers have a good experience with a low risk product, such as dryer sheets, they are inclined to move into higher risk areas, such as detergent.


Among other findings of the survey:

           75 percent of respondents switched to store branded household products, with the highest number buying paper towels (49 percent), followed by bathroom tissue (43 percent), storage bags (42 percent) and laundry detergent (39 percent).

           74 percent purchased private-label food products. Ranking high in this category are bread (42 percent), cheese (36 percent) and cereal (35 percent).

           59 percent swapped to store-brand health products, including adult pain relievers (33 percent) and multi-vitamins (27 percent).

           27 percent of respondents moved to private-label pet care products.

           In the personal care category, more than 28 percent of respondents replaced their deodorant with a store brand and almost 16 percent did so with their facial moisturizer. Almost 24 percent switched women's shavers.

           In the children and baby category, 9 percent of respondents traded to store brand pain relievers, 6 percent shifted their baby shampoo brands and 5 percent changed diapers.


Epsilon's online survey was launched in the U.S. on August. 5, with 1,452 total respondents and a margin of error of +/- 3.3 points. For more information, please

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