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Shopper Branding

Shoppercentric research shows how consumer attitudes to premium brands is evolving

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

March 18, 2013 | 3 min read

Seven out of 10 shoppers have said they don’t care where they buy premium brands as long as they get a good price according to the latest report from Shoppercentric.

The research, entitled ‘WindowOn…The Brand Challenge’, has investigated how ‘premium’ brands are affected by distribution choices i.e. where and how they are sold and whether or not shoppers actually care about where they purchase from.

Of those surveyed 51 per cent said they define a premium brand by its price, with 76 per cent claiming that the definition of a premium brand is its quality, with just 16 per cent of shoppers believing that upmarket stores are the only place to buy premium brands.

"It’s critical for premium brands to fully understand how their customers feel about their products presence and availability through different channels,” says Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric. “With the ever strengthening presence of the discounters we know this is an issue that continues to challenge brand managers, so it’s important to find out from shoppers about their perceptions and buying behaviours.”

Six in 10 shoppers also agreed that they hated the snobbery around premium brands with nearly 20 per cent strongly agreeing with this statement. Previously considered by most consumers as a luxury Shoppercentric found that just 28 per cent of shoppers said they wanted to feel ‘special’ when they purchased a premium item.

“The findings indicate that price alone clearly does not denote superior quality for shoppers anymore. Great (and proven) quality appears to lie at the heart of an unequivocal premium brand definition – but there is clearly also a role for expressing this, through price, packaging, image or even channel and in-store theatre,” added Pinnington.

Over half (59 per cent) of shoppers said large discounts on premium brands makes them wonder if the original price is too high to begin with. Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents said they loved finding premium brands with a discount with 61 per cent stating that they never buy premium brands at full price. Premium brands who do not offer discounts were perceived as out of touch by 59 per cent of shopper and 37 per cent agreed that brands who do not offer discounts don’t care about their consumers.

Pinnington furthered that “if there is a clear price advantage for shoppers” explaining “If trust in the brand’s integrity is such that quality is assured, any reservations about the retail setting can be swiftly overcome in order to make a decent saving”.

“It’s important to get the difficult balance of discount/promotions right. To maintain a truly premium position, promotional activity should offer an occasional chance to indulge – or a welcome reward for loyalty – rather than a more continuous expectation which can see perception of ‘premium’ erode.

“The retail landscape has shifted: although still relatively small, the discounters are growing and more and more shoppers are adding them to their repertoire. So, considering these changes, brand values may also need to flex to make sure the brand stays in touch with its showroom and shopper. Vanity is simply too expensive to maintain in the current climate,” she concludes.

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