Brand Loyalty Declines Amid COVID-19

Customers can’t find toilet paper, let alone their go-to brand.

April 20, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—As demand for food, cleaning supplies and seemingly any product in a grocery store surges, brand loyalty is no longer a viable option. As Food Business News puts it, the “empty shelves and temporary stockouts have disrupted brand loyalty and generated increased trial of both national branded and private label grocery items.”

Data from AlixPartners shows that 65% of U.S. consumers have tried new brands during the coronavirus pandemic—most of whom (79%) did so because their usual option was out of stock. 

And as customers reach for something new, they’re also considering how it will affect their wallets— choosing more private label options with lower prices over national brands. AlixPartners reports that consumers are trying national brands at rates around 10-20%, while new private label brands are coming in around 15-25%.

“Consumers are suggesting that they're going to continue and stick with the brand they've tried at a pretty high rate,” said Randy Burt, managing director in the consumer products practice at AlixPartners. “Those brands that are able to stay on shelf, that are able to deal with the spikes in demand caused by COVID-19 and the shift from away-from-home to food-at-home, are the ones that are going to be able to potentially strengthen their brands over time.”

“Nearly half of consumers who tried new national branded salty snacks said they plan to stick to the new brand after the crisis,” reports Food Business News. Customers trying new private label items are also more likely to continue buying private label items such as confectionery products, fruit-and nut-based snacks, nut butters and pasta, along with staples like meat, dairy and bread.