The fashion industry continues to grow and adapt to consumers’ needs, offering a variety of choices from high-end designer brands to generic unbranded alternatives to cater to its society. Branded items come from a particular manufacturer under a well-known or well-established name. In contrast, unbranded products are label-less or under a manufacturer’s name that is (still) unknown or (yet to be) well-established.

Many things influence consumer behavior, and its label, branded or not, is just one of many.

A survey launched by Real Research, an online survey app, attempted to gather opinions about consumers’ fashion preferences between branded vs unbranded products and purchasing habits.

The Battle Between Branded vs Unbranded Products

Deciding between branded and unbranded products can sometimes be a thoughtful deliberation; other times, minimal thought goes into the decision-making. Regarding how much thought respondents usually put into buying branded or unbranded products, 49.34% say ‘very much.’ Others say ‘much’ (21.53%), ‘moderate’ (18.46%), ‘tiny’ (7.49%), and the rest (3.19%) ‘none.’

Nevertheless, consumers are naturally drawn to particular products or brands regardless of how much thought consumers put into their purchase decisions. Our survey that gathers public preference on fashion: branded vs unbranded products shows that the majority prefer to purchase branded (55.8%) over unbranded products (44.2%).


  • Consumers want branded products for their perception of great quality, say 42.6%;
  • 49.6% say consumers want unbranded products for their lower cost
  • Despite rising prices, 19.72% of respondents continued to buy the same brand/unbranded products; however, they reduced the frequency of their purchases

What Consumers Want

When it comes to consumer buying patterns, the ‘label’ has a huge role to play. Our survey asked, “why do you prefer branded products?” Reports show that consumers of name brands want it for its perception of great quality (42.6%), trustworthiness (29.57%), and perception of social status (13.95%). There is also a sense of pride (8.25%) and a form of self-expression (3.15%) associated with branded products.

Figure 1 Respondents on why they prefer branded products
Figure 1: Respondents on why they prefer branded products

In comparison, consumers prefer unbranded products for their lower cost (49.6%), convenience to join trends (21.7%), and their wide variety of options (18.39%).

How Has the Pandemic Affected Shopping Habits?

The spike in inflation during COVID-19 affected millions worldwide. Our survey reveals that despite the rising prices, 19.72% of respondents continued to buy the same brand/unbranded products; however, they reduced the frequency of their purchases. The rest (14.13%) carried on by purchasing unbranded items, but some (13.07%) consumers of branded products had to shift to cheaper alternatives.

Figure 2 How the pandemic affected consumers’ spending habits
Figure 2: How the pandemic affected consumers’ spending habits

Although some remained as consumers of branded items and just had to squeeze themselves on a tighter budget (12.56%), there are others (11.4%) who have the same budget amidst inflation, and a few (10.97%) who have a much higher budget.

How Often A Consumer Shops

Considering there are differences between branded vs unbranded products, the shopping frequency of both can be different too. Results from the survey show 31.92% of consumers purchase branded items sometimes. Others (30.34%) do it all the time, some (22.03%) often, and the rest (12.33%) rarely do.

On the other hand, 36.21% purchase unbranded items all the time. 29.07% do it sometimes,       24.66% buy it often, and 7.39% rarely do.

Most Prefer Branded Clothing and Unbranded Electronics

The battle on public preference between branded vs unbranded products is apparent in the product type. For example, on medicinal drugs, most prefer branded over generic ones.

The survey gathered opinions on which category they prefer buying branded and unbranded products. Regarding branded items, most (13.64%) favor clothing.

Figure 3 Products consumers prefer to be branded
Figure 3: Products consumers prefer to be branded

The rest want name brands on self-care products (11.97%) and electronics (10.18%). Surprisingly, more opt for branded pet products (8.9%) than shoes (8.73%) and bags (6.94%).

Meanwhile, 34.81% of respondents prefer unbranded electronics. 24.06% opt for unbranded clothing, and 14.63% go for less-known appliance brands. Others also prefer generic brands for shoes (9.37%) and bags (4.28%).


Survey TitlePublic Preference on Fashion: Branded vs. Unbranded
DurationNovember 9 – November 16, 2022
Number of Participants20,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.