Private labels, convenience and discounts are on top of Australians’ shopping lists according to a research by Nielsen.

More than 11,600 consumers across the country were polled by Product of the Year to recognise and reward the most innovative products to hit supermarket shelves across 34 categories and identify key attitudes and behaviours when it comes to shopping.

The research revealed Australians are keeping a close on their budgets by making buying decisions based on value for money, with home brands becoming increasingly popular.
Around 70 per cent said they often compare prices of private labels with manufacturer goods and many (60 per cent) believe supermarkets offer similar quality, with packaging looking just as good as those of branded products.

Almost all respondents (94 per cent) said they have bought private label goods, with half being regular users.

Product of the Year Director, Sarah Connelly, said although consumers are choosing home brand food and beverages, the trend may be born out of necessity rather than a deliberate choice.

“The difficult economic environment has been a strong driver of private label growth. People are constantly searching for value and looking for ways to save dollars. This, coupled with an increase in the range and quality of private label products available in supermarkets, has led many consumers to make the shift to home brands,” she said.

Price and convenience are two major factors that really drive a consumer to purchase a product, even if it means compromising their health, the research also found. Almost three quarters of Australians (74 per cent) would eat healthier and buy more premium quality fresh produce and protein if they were less expensive, with 41 per cent believing it is cheaper and easier to buy pre-packaged meals rather than cooking their own dish.

“Australians are time-poor and are looking for ways to cut corners, which means consumers are more likely to favour products that help make things quick and easy,” Connelly said. “More than half of those surveyed (53 per cent) said they don’t have time to cook a full meal from scratch so they buy something convenient, even if it’s not as healthy.”

To help increase buyer activity in-store, retailers rely on their loyalty reward programs to lure shoppers. Fly Buys (63 per cent) and Everyday Rewards (60 per cent), the programs offered by the two major grocery retailers, Coles and Woolworths, are the most popular programs.

However, the same research found shoppers are not engaged by this and don’t let rewards influence where they shop with 60 per cent claiming they don’t even think about it until they get to the check-out. Discounts are the most valued rewards, with gifts and free products being the least popular.

“Retailers are battling for wallet real estate, but the statistics point to customer loyalty fatigue in the market,” Connelly said. “The survey suggests Aussies feel there is no real benefit, with 65 per cent claiming loyalty programs only offer minimal rewards.”