Customer‐based brand equity, equity drivers, and customer loyalty in the supermarket industry

Arthur W. Allaway (The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)
Patricia Huddleston (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Judith Whipple (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Alexander E. Ellinger (The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 31 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to measure consumer‐based brand equity in the supermarket industry and to identify the strategy drivers associated with levels of brand equity for consumers' typically patronized supermarkets.


A nine state survey of consumers was conducted to provide brand equity ratings of 22 national, regional, and specialty supermarket brands.


Factor analysis yields two brand equity outcome dimensions and eight brand equity drivers. A large proportion of consumers clearly have strong feelings about the supermarkets they patronize, and that effort expended in keeping customers, service level, and product quality and assortment appear to be basic requirements for achieving high levels of consumer‐based brand equity. The top supermarket brands typically score highly on at least one other key driver of equity. Supermarket brands that use formal loyalty programs to drive patronage in general have lower levels of customer‐based brand equity.

Research limitations/implications

Selection of designated supermarkets was limited by spatial distribution in the geographic area. The sample is more affluent and educated than the general US population.

Practical implications

As retailers search for ways to compete more effectively for consumer dollars and loyalty, they need to explore in more detail the customer‐based brand equity and the drivers of customer equity associated with their retail brands.


This paper is the first to link consumer‐based brand equity and the supermarket branding efforts that drive it for specific retail brands. In an industry with numerous choices in nearly all market areas and low switching costs, successful branding can translate into emotional commitment, shopping loyalty, and even person‐to‐person promotion of the brand to others.



Allaway, A., Huddleston, P., Whipple, J. and Ellinger, A. (2011), "Customer‐based brand equity, equity drivers, and customer loyalty in the supermarket industry", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 190-204.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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