Retailers must not underestimate the value of brand loyalty, a report says.
Market research firm Datamonitor's analysis of market conditions on the high street says it is clear that retaining existing customers is more efficient than actively seeking new ones.
It says new brands must seek to reinforce consumers' self-identities as customers' personal choices reflect their desire to boost the individuality of their "lifestyles and values".
Overly zealous branding carries a risk with it, however. A 2006 survey by the Grocery Manufacturers Association in the US found that two-thirds of customers struggling to find a brand they are familiar with while shopping would rather look elsewhere or delay a purchase than buy available alternatives.
"Seeking new customers by increasing the pace of innovation is one way to attract new consumers," study author Matthew Adams said.
"However, this is inherently difficult as the pace of innovation must match consumers' expectations and perceptions.
"There is still some loyalty in consumer goods markets and marketers need to make it a strategic goal as the markets they serve in developed countries have reached maturity and retention takes precedence over acquisition of consumers."
Highlighting this difficulty, a 2006 Citibank report found that 90 per cent of all new consumer products fail.