How Interested Are Gen Z Consumers in Store Brands?

More than half of Gen Z grocery shoppers “always/frequently” choose a place to shop due to its store brands, according to a new PLMA consumer research report called “Gen Z Loves Store Brands: America’s Youngest Consumers Speak Out on Grocery Shopping, Stores and Brands.”

Generation Z is described as the most diverse, best-educated, best-behaved, and most stressed-out demographic in the country’s history. One thing is for sure, they are sizable. Gen Zers comprise 21% of the total population, a figure likely to rise in the years ahead. In the U.S., there are approximately 80 million members of this one-of-a-kind cohort, according to the PLMA report.

For Gen Zers, food is king, the biggest category of their spending. It starts at a young age. Four of five parents say their kids were more involved in household purchases than they were at the same age.

In the survey, 67% of Gen Z say they are “extremely/very” aware of store brands; 64% say they buy store brands “always/frequently;” 56% are “extremely likely/likely” to experiment with store brands to find “best value;” and 51% say they “always/frequently” choose a place to shop due to its store brands.

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Among other findings: 

  • 53% of Gen Z say “Valuable” describes store brands “precisely/very much.”
  • 52% of Gen Z say “Reliable” describes store brands “precisely/very much.”
  • 50% of Gen Z say “Variety” describes store brands “precisely/very much.”

Sara Williamson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing at SUNY Old Westbury, analyzed the survey results and presented her findings at PLMA’s 2023 U.S. Private Label Trade Show in Chicago last November.

“Gen Z store brand purchase frequency is most strongly driven by a perception that store brands are ‘reliable,’” Williamson told PLMA. “Reliability perception is a stronger store brand purchase predictor than any other measure, including household income and monthly grocery spending.”

The impact of store brand reliability is a solid indicator that the manufacturer-retailer relationship is more important than ever, she said. 

“To succeed with Gen Z, retailers must establish a foundation of store brand suppliers who meet their customers’ quality expectations,” she added.