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Consumer insights: Loyal Gen Z shoppers could drive store brand sales

Quotient brand Ubimo studied consumer behavior during the height of the pandemic and now, signaling opportunities for private brands.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Opportunities arise for store brands targeting younger shoppers and those leveraging retailer loyalty, according to Ubimo, a Quotient brand, and its recent consumer shopper study centered around pandemic behaviors.

The location intelligence platform studied shopper behavior, comparing August of this year with behaviors from the same time-period last year, finding shopper loyalty has actually increased since the pandemic’s impact. For example, 88% of the U.S. shoppers surveyed said they usually visit the same store to replenish their goods. That number is up 5% compared with a year ago.

The study also found some variance in demographics and loyalty, with nearly 90% of Gen Z shoppers saying they visit the same store for their shopping this year vs. only 73% a year ago, during the height of the pandemic.

Norm Chait, director of out-of-home product and sales, Quotient, told Store Brands that as consumers return to stores, there’s a promising future for store loyalty and the retailer’s private brand programs.

“This creates an opportunity for retailers to create a strong relation with the consumer and solidify that relationship so when a shopper is faced with the choice of shopping at the usual store or venturing out to a different one, choosing the usual is a no brainer,” he said. “We’re also seeing a growing number of lower age groups making repeat visits, giving retailers and brands an opportunity to form strong relationships with the younger demographic.”

The study found that one in three shoppers surveyed of all demographics said they make more shopping trips today than they did at the height of the pandemic, and more than half said they changed how they shop, planning ahead more to make shopping in-person faster. The study also found that 61% are likely to purchase a product after seeing it in an out-of-home advertisement, and millennials are the most receptive group, as 92% surveyed said they’re extremely likely to purchase vs. 77% for Gen Z shoppers.

The advertising opportunity and loyalty numbers present a strong headwind for retailers and store brands that have built relationships with consumers during the pandemic, Chait told Store Brands. “The beginning of the pandemic created an opportunity for private label brands to gain favor with consumers and we’re seeing that momentum continue as shoppers return to in-store visits. At the pandemic’s onset, many recognizable brands sold out quickly, leaving consumers with private label items that they may not have typically purchased. Private label brands may have been all that was available at consumers' local stores for weeks, allowing the retailer to form a relationship with the consumer as they formed a habit of purchasing private label items.”

Other highlights from the study:

  • 95% of shoppers responded that they shop at least once a week;
  • 80% of consumers think brand messaging is important, particularly in consideration of the realities of COVID-19 within the consumer’s community. Compared to August of 2020, there was a 17% increase in consumers who believe that messaging is important, and a 22% increase in respondents who believe messaging is extremely important.