Consumer packaged goods marketers are discovering that in an uncertain world, consumers are maintaining their reliance on the most established brands.
People want to stick with what they know. That’s the conclusion offered by a new NCSolutions Loyalty survey.
The report, called "Loyalty in the Time of COVID: Why Branding and Targeted Advertising Matter More Now than Ever," looked at buying decisions in more than 51 million households for more than 50 brands spread across 16 different advertisers.
The report concluded that, in essence, the rich got richer.
When the consumer buying frenzy began, consumers gravitated toward the products they know best. As things have slowed a bit, those brands are now in an even stronger position.
Brands in decline prior to the pandemic may have gained sales, just because so much buying was going on and shortages developed. But they may have ultimately still lost share, this report posits.
NCS divides pandemic-period consumer buying into phases. We’re now in the Home-Confined Buying phase (and have been since March 22). In that time, CPG sales are up an amazing 34% compared to normal times, NCS reports.
“Consumer brands with high levels of brand equity and consumer trust, and which consistently advertised through the current marketplace disruption, have been the major beneficiaries of consumer loyalty and expanded market share,” the study says.
Some new winners are old favorites. Steven Tramposch, vice president of client consulting, calls them “brands that are predictable and that bring comfort, but perhaps brands [consumers] haven’t bought for a while. Some nostalgic brands that had been in a decline for several years have seen incredible growth, which might extend the life of their brand for 20 years. A whole new generation was exposed to a set of products and brands as their parents sought comfort from a time past."
Jon R. Moeller, Procter & Gamble’s vice chairman, and chief operating and financial officer, alluded to that opportunity when P&G announced its strong third quarter earnings on April 17. “There is potential for increased preference for established, reputable, dependable brands that solve newly framed problems better than other alternatives,” he said.
The NCS report jibes with Procter & Gamble's strong sales for its brands like Tide detergent and Charmin toilet tissue, among many P&G brands in its massive portfolio. “I would say that in general, we're seeing as much as a 20% increase in consumption across categories,” Moeller said in his earnings call talk with analysts.
NCS concludes, “Brands with aggressive advertising strategies prior to — and during — the pandemic achieved higher growth than brands that had pulled back their advertising.”