TASTE for the FINER THINGS LIVES ON
Slowly but surely consumers are beginning to open their wallets. According to a new survey by the IRI (Independent Research Institute) consumers are still cutting back but not as much as they were last fall. In fact, many shoppers are increasing their purchases on premium consumer brands overall. The latest IRI Times & Trends Report, “The Value/Premium Dichotomy”, reveals that value brands are growing rapidly in terms of dollars, while mid-tier brands lag. Premium brands are also picking up steam – great news for the premium and ultra premium segments of the alcohol industry. “Shoppers have moved away from their traditional brands to value brands, including both retailers’ private brands as well as economy brands from national brand manufacturers,” said Thom Blischok, President of IRI Consulting and Innovation. They are also buying premium brands, which IRI calls “sophisticated splurging”. For example, shoppers are still buying the premium brands they like but are purchasing them at value stores including dollar stores and supercenters. Meanwhile, grocery, drug, mass merchandise, and club stores are seeing shrinking sales. Sophisticated splurging is also being helped by the fact that retailers have improved their private label offerings with more high-end brands, and consumers are more concerned about health and wellness, says IRI. The shoppers driving the premium trend are classified as “living comfortably” instead of consumers in the “doing well” range earning $55k in a two or more member household.