The relationship between price and quality in durable product categories with private label brands

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Department or Administrative Unit


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This paper aims to investigate price and objective-quality in durable product categories containing national and private-label (PL) brands.


Using data from consumer reports objective-test results of 14,476 durable products available in the US the authors identified product categories containing both national and PL brands; constructed relative price- and quality-indices for each category; calculated price and quality differentials for each category then modeled the relationship between them; estimated the price premium associated with national brands (NBs); and computed price–quality (PQ) correlations for each category. The authors also analyzed the same relationships using subjective brand-perception data collected from 240 consumers.


Overall the price of NBs in durable products was substantially higher than the price of PL brands despite there being little to no difference in quality levels overall, with the proportion of categories having higher PL quality nearly equaling that of categories having superior NB quality. Correlation between price and quality was moderate. Accuracy of consumer perceptions varied depending on the importance of brand in the purchase decisions for particular product categories.


This paper uses a large objective dataset spanning a period of more than eight years to assess price and quality for durable goods in categories offering PL brands. It addresses an under-studied area, that of PL brands for higher-priced, longer-lasting products. The findings contribute to an existing understanding of PLs, especially in the domain of durable-goods, as well as to the body of research in the area of PQ relationships. It also adds to our understanding of consumers’ perceptions of brand as a factor in durable product decisions and how the market aligns with those perceptions.


This article was originally published in Journal of Product & Brand Management. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Journal of Product & Brand Management


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