Home » SymphonyIRI: Private Label Could Be Much More

SymphonyIRI: Private Label Could Be Much More

Increasingly, private label products are strategic weapons that separate a retailer from its competitors in a way that helps to build loyalty and purchase behavior.

But Symphony IRI Group states in its latest Times & Trend Report that private label can be—should be—even more. Much opportunity remains for private label marketers and national brand marketers alike.

“At nearly 23 percent of CPG unit sales across retail channels today, private label products certainly have momentum and command a sizeable share of consumers’ CPG spending,” said John McIndoe, SVP, Marketing, SymphonyIRI. “However, this momentum is not demonstrated equally across channels, retailers, departments or categories.

“This means there is room for private label and national brand manufacturers to capitalize on opportunities. The key for both camps is to center their efforts on the shopper. Those that effectively identify and deliver against critical shopper needs will win share of wallet and shopper loyalty.”

Today, private label share is largest within the grocery channel, but, within the grocery channel, private label share of sales slid 0.6 points during the past year.

Within the drug channel, private label share of sales fell sharply during the past year. Some of these declines occurred in health-related categories, with share of vitamins and internal analgesics falling by 3.2 points and 4.4 points, respectively.

Sizeable drops also occurred in the beauty department in the drug channel. In this channel, for instance, private label share fell more than 5 points in both soap and blades categories. These declines are noteworthy because they occurred in departments that are generally strongholds for drug retailers.

“Both manufacturers and retailers know that private label is not a panacea,” said Susan Viamari, editor, Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI. “Private label products remain, on average, 29 percent lower priced than national brands. Remove that price advantage and dollar and unit sales could plummet. In fact, the shrinking private label price gap very likely contributed to some of the private label share losses experienced during the past year. Going forward, private label products are subject to the same commodity price increase pressures as national brands, so establishing and maintaining effective pricing and promotion strategies should be top of mind for every CPG marketer in the marketplace today.”

National brands entrenched in one fifth of top 100 CPG categories

Private label has an above average and growing presence in 30 of the top 100 CPG categories. The most sizeable private label share increase came in the refrigerated salad/coleslaw category, which has jumped more than 20 points during the past three years.

Private label offerings of gastrointestinal tablets, cold/allergy/sinus tablets, internal analgesics and pastry/doughnuts are also doing well.

National brands are entrenched in 22 percent of the top 100 CPG categories. Cat/dog litter, diapers, cat food, eye/contact lens care and single-serve dinners are categories in which national brands hold above average share of spending and are successfully winning even more share. In six of the top 100 CPG categories, private label share is above average, but national brands are winning share of spending.

The pasta category is one example of a category where national brands are taking such a stand. This category is seeing the largest decline in private label share thanks in part to innovation like whole grains and added nutrients that brought some level of differentiation to the category.

Frozen seafood, pickles/relish/olives and moist towelettes are also seeing national brands driving private label spending down.

Manufacturers should monitor price gaps

Manufacturers seeking to develop effective private label mitigation strategies should identify and assess brand-specific opportunities and risks. Price gaps between their brands and private label alternatives should be monitored to ensure optimum pricing.

Manufacturers need to understand private label performance across key categories and leverage value-oriented pricing and promotion programs. Understand price/value perceptions across key consumer segments, and invest in innovation that will bring differentiation to the marketplace. New products should be tested before development plans are made. The impact of brand-related initiatives should be monitored and measured, and store-level shifts relative to private label among key retail partners should be tracked and benchmarked.

Retailers should support private label, tailor offerings at the market level

Retailers seeking to grow private label share should tailor store brand offerings at the market level, the Symphony IRI Group report states.

Identify and assess both store brand opportunities and threats. Support private label lines with consumer-centric and highly integrated marketing campaigns, which should include in-store display and feature ad support.

Refine private label development strategies by evaluating the feasibility of multi-tier offerings across key categories/product lines, either alone or in partnership with national brand manufacturer partners.

Then the retailer also should measure and monitor the actual vs. the planned impact of private label related initiatives. Test market product, pricing and promotion changes prior to and immediately following roll out, and then track and benchmark store-level store brand share shifts relative to national brands.

The report, “Private Label: Brand Positioning in the New World Order,” is available for free from SymphonyIRI.

For more information, visit www.SymphonyIRI.com.

Featured Photos

Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap