September 18/Denver/PRNewswire -- An ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research shows that shoppers seem to be keeping their private label shopping habits consistent with last year. Some shopper segments appear to be increasing their acceptance of private label, with more than a third of shoppers still saying that they are buying more private-label brands than last year. Of that group, one in three shoppers say they will probably buy even more in the future.

While more than half of shoppers (54%) named quality as their top priority when shopping for everyday products, less than a third said that name brands are better quality or more reliable than private label. However, 56% of shoppers have the perception that name brand packaging is more attractive than private label.

"Shoppers realize that name brands no longer guarantee better quality and there is a significant decline in the gap between private label and brand name over the past few years. When it comes to differentiating the product itself, packaging might be the only thing left for name brands to stand out. Packaging affects shoppers' perceptions of the product and influences their decision. It's an area where name-brands have a competitive edge," said Craig Elston, senior vice president, Insight & Strategy at The Integer Group.

Additional findings in the private label edition of The Checkout include:
• Only 29% of the survey's respondents feel strongly that national brands are of better quality, down from 36% last year and 43% in 2010.
• When asked what types of private label household goods shoppers are okay buying, 66% of respondents listed over-the-counter medicine at the top of the list with milk as a close second with 61%.
• The least-purchased private label category in the study is pet food, with only 18% shoppers saying they would be okay purchasing this as private label.
• Some 45% of shoppers believe that name brands have more new products, variety and innovations than private label brands.