Private brands: A crucial source of differentiation

Retailers like Albertsons Companies are taking advantage of store brands to differentiate.

Private brand sales increased 4 percent in 2018 when compared to 2017, nearly six times the growth of national brands, according to a recent report from Daymon, a Stamford, Conn.-based firm that specializes in private brand development. The growth came from categories across the retail spectrum, including beauty and personal care, pet, household and food, Daymon states in the latest edition of its Private Brand Intelligence Report.

According to the report, private brands have become a crucial source of differentiation, store choice and consumer preference for retailers, as Daymon’s research found that:

  • 98% of national brand assortment is the same across retailers.
  • 53% of consumers say they shop at a store specifically for its private brands.
  • 81% of consumers buy private brand products on every shopping trip.

“Consumers are empowering retailers to be pioneers — to offer new and unique private brand products that align with their constantly evolving preferences and needs,” said Michael Taylor, president of Daymon. “With shoppers becoming ever more channel agnostic, retailers must pivot from category-led updates and focus on consumer-centric platform innovation. This will help them raise the profile of their private brand program and differentiate from their competition.”

Innovation is a key pillar to a successful private brand program, according to the report. In 2018, best-in-class retailers (retailers with top private brand programs) launched more than three times as many new private brand products as compared to the industry average, a pivotal driver of their private brand growth which outpaced the industry average by nearly five times.

According to Daymon, the future of private brand innovation lies in three key areas:

Plant-centric: Rising consumer interest in cleaner and healthier products that limit their impact on the planet will spark continuous innovation in private brands across grocery, beauty, personal care, and other non-food categories alike. Daymon estimates that the influence of this trend is expanding rapidly, going from a handful of categories in 2014 to over 90 categories in 2018 with emerging plant-centric options, representing over $13 billion in cumulative sales in 2018.

• Functionality redefined: Macro dynamics (urbanization, new articulations of the modern family, democratization of information) are fragmenting consumer values and creating demand for new and innovative private brand products and services that cater to shoppers’ unique needs. Science, specialization and simplicity are embedded into the new definition of functionality, with 49% of consumers finding options that fit their specific lifestyles very important to brand choice.

• 360-degree sensory: Consumers are increasingly seeking brand and product immersion. Daymon’s research shows that 59% of consumers seek out engagement when they shop, and six in 10 crave experiences that stimulate the senses. To differentiate on and off the shelf, private brands should focus on sensory levers that facilitate dynamic interaction with their customers.

“Analyzing and understanding consumer behavior is essential as retailers aim to build an unbeatable and continuously differentiating private brand program,” Taylor said. “The Daymon Private Brand Intelligence Report offers detailed explanations of these emerging trends and the factors driving them, as well as strategic suggestions for how retailers can embrace bold innovation in their private brand programs, making it a crucial source of market intelligence.”

Daymon’s report features insights and thought leadership from its team of industry experts in category, fresh, culinary and wellness, who utilized proprietary analyses, consumer surveys, market research and global intelligence to provide the key action steps retailers must use to innovate and lead through private brands.

The report can be downloaded here.