Store Brands Industry Forum on Consumer Trends: Private Label Continues to Penetrate Market

Mary Ellen Lynch, principal at Circana, kicked off the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Consumer Trends with a keynote presentation detailing private label's recent growth.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Mary Ellen Lynch Circana
Mary Ellen Lynch, principal, Circana

Driven by inflation, private label sales have surged compared to three years ago, with dollar and unite shares both growing compared to pre-pandemic.

At the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Consumer Trends, Mary Ellen Lynch, principal at Circana (formerly IRI/NPD Group), delivered the keynote address detailing how and where in the store private brands are performing best.

“In terms of food & beverage in stores, dollar sales for store brands outpaced name brands, as did units,” said Lynch. “For nonfood, the story is a little bit different. Gains for both name brands and store brands are pretty comparable. The story is telling here as well, where consumers are holding back on some things that may not be essential in terms of nonfood. Consumers will prioritize food and medicine first.”

According to Circana data, 14 categories in food & beverages make up nearly half (49%) of all private label sales. Milk & cheese, meats, seafood, bread & rolls, bottled water and coffee are just some of these categories.

“It’s important to have these categories dialed-in correctly and positioned for store brands, because they’re so important to the total dollar for store brands in your store,” added Lynch.

Whether they knew it or not, almost all (99.7%) of all U.S. households purchased at least one private label product in 2022. Across categories, general food, refrigerated, frozen and beverages all saw private label penetration of above 93% of U.S. households making at least one purchase.

“We can expect a high percent of households to buy private label products going forward,” she said. “Where they dip in and out of buying private label products will differ, but overall they will make at least one store brand purchase over the course of a year.”

The full event can be viewed on-demand here.