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Gap Between Name Brands and Private Labels Shrinking

NEW YORK -- From soda to water, energy drinks to snacks, convenience stores are increasingly introducing their own private labels to compete against the major brands.

The findings of an ACNielsen Global Survey suggest they have the right idea as more than two-thirds of global consumers today consider private label products to be a "good alternative" to other brands and an "extremely good value for the money."

Almost as many of the shoppers who responded also said the quality of private label brands is "at least as good" as that of the bigger brands.

The online study polled more than 21,100 consumers in 38 markets. Americans, in particular, have embraced private label products, results show.

North American shoppers, along with those in the Pacific (both at 81 percent), were the most likely to rate private labels an extremely good value for the money. They also saw eye to eye on quality, with 72 percent in North America and 70 percent in the Pacific saying that private label quality was "at least as good as the usual big brands."

Europe was just behind, with 73 percent agreeing on value for money and 68 percent on quality. Meanwhile, 67 percent of Latin American consumers considered private label an extremely good value, and 64 percent believed the quality of such products to be comparable with the big brands. Lastly, 59 percent of Asian consumers thought private label products were an extremely good value, while 49 percent said that the products' quality rivaled that of the larger brands.

When asked whether there are some products, particularly, "where quality really matters," and where private label isn't suitable, a worldwide average of 40 percent agreed, with Latin Americans (51 percent) and Asians (48 percent) in the lead.

Even in highly private label-developed regions, two in five Pacific consumers, or 41 percent, said there were certain products unsuitable for private label. At the bottom of the scale 27 percent of North Americans and 35 percent of Europeans believed some products weren't suited to private label.

When asked if they thought private label products were "meant for people on tight budgets who can't afford the best brands," a worldwide average of 34 percent agreed. Broken down by region, Asian consumers, at 46 percent, were most likely to agree with the statement, while North Americans, at 20 percent, were least likely.
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