In 25 Years, Across 50 Categories, User Profiles for Directly Competing Brands Seldom Differ: Affirming Andrew Ehrenberg’s Principles

Mark Uncles

University of New South Wales

Rachel Kennedy and Magda Nenycz-Thiel

Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

Jaywant Singh

Kingston University

Simon Kwok

University of New South Wales

Management slant

  • Market research shows that user profiles of directly competing brands seldom differ.
  • The evidence is consistent for different time periods, sources, countries and product categories, for brands, private labels, and variants.
  • Consumers see these directly competing offerings as substitutable, despite attempts by marketers to differentiate brands and provide customized features for distinct groups of consumers.
  • Nevertheless, the evidence also shows that highly salient brands can compete and thrive even when within-category user profiles are quite similar.