Survey finds store brands could be an opportunity for small businesses

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Looking at trends and opportunities for small businesses amid the pandemic, the organization Score, which works to educate small business owners, listed private brands as a way to inch back in a tough economy.

The company surveyed American consumers to identify changes in their shopping behaviors and found that 26% of consumers “have used a private label” and 83% “intend to continue” using store brands.

The focus on private brands is a sign of U.S. shoppers being more open to trying new stores, brands and ways to shop during the pandemic, according to Score. Similarly, 22% of consumers have tried a digital shopping method and 81% continue to buy through digital methods. A third of consumers tried out a new retailer website and 33% said they tried a new brand.

The study also identified consumers are looking to be healthier, more focused on small businesses and socially minded shoppers. Highlights include:

  • 32% of consumers said they will make choices that protect the health of themselves, and their family before anything else;
  • 25% of consumers said they will try to live within their means, and their budget;
  • 29% of Gen X will purchase a majority of their gifts from small or local businesses, and 27% of Millennials will do so;
  • 21% of Gen Z consumers, and 8% of all other consumers, plan to shop more Black-owned businesses; and 
  • 12% of Gen Z consumers, and 5% of all other consumers, plan to shop brands that publicly support Black Lives Matter.

"This research shows that shoppers are increasingly moving online and using their dollars to support brands that reflect their personal values, and impact their local community," said Bridget Weston, CEO of SCORE. "In preparation for the new year, small businesses should pay close attention to these consumer trends, and work with their SCORE mentor to adapt, and optimize their marketing strategies."

Looking at specific categories, small business owners can expect to see more online sales in beauty, apparel and snacks. The study found:

  • Online purchases for skincare & makeup are expected to grow by 97%;
  • Accessories are expected to grow by 96%;
  • Household supplies are expected to grow by 81%;
  • Snacks are expected to grow by 78%;
  • Jewelry is expected to grow by 57%;
  • Furnishing and appliances are expected to grow by 54%;
  • Groceries are expected to grow by 48%;
  • Apparel is expected to grow by 48%; and
  • Fitness and wellness products are expected to grow by 46%;

Score, based in Herndon, Va., has been mentoring and working with entrepreneurs and small businesses since 1964.