PLMA Publishes the 2010 Private Label Yearbook

Private Brand scored strong gains across all major U.S. retail channels in 2009 as consumers increasingly switched from national brands and drove Private Brands to all-time highs in both volume and total revenue, as well as market share, according to latest industry statistics published in the Private Label Manufacturer Association’s (PLMA) 2010 Private Label Yearbook.

Following up on a strong growth surge for Private Brands in 2008, sales of the products increased again last year by +1.8 billion units while national brand units were down -2.1 billion. Along with the conversion of a full percentage point in unit share from national brands to the private label column, Private Brands added $2.7 billion in value to reach $86.4 billion in total sales. National brand sales increased by $1.6 billion, but those gains were largely, if not entirely, the result of higher prices.

In grocery stores, Private Brands reached a historic high of 23.7% in unit share. Private label units were up +6.4% for the year compared to a decline of -1.7% for national brands. The growth in Private Brand units (+1.7 billion) more than offset the erosion of national brands (-1.5 billion), resulting in a net gain for the channel as a whole and stemming a multi-year trend of overall unit losses in U.S. supermarkets.

On the revenue side, Private Brands accounted for 90% of all gains in supermarkets, adding $1.5 billion in new sales (+2.9%), while national brands were almost flat (+0.1%). Moreover, the decline in national brand units suggests that even their modest sales gain of $200 million was a result of price inflation. Overall, Private Brands sales in supermarkets reached $55.5 billion and dollar market share climbed to 18.7%; both figures were new all-time highs.

In drug chains, market share in units reached 16.3% as volume grew by +4.0%. National brands recorded a loss of -3.9% in units. As in supermarkets, the absolute growth of 461 million Private Brand units across all departments more than made up for the channel’s loss of national brand volume (-378 million).

Private Brands were responsible for 52% of the total sales growth in drug chains, adding close to a half billion dollars in new sales. Private Brand revenue grew at a vigorous +8.8%, while national brands tacked on only +1.2% in sales. The total value of Private Brands sales in drug chains was $6.1 billion, and dollar market share was 14.1%; both figures were also record.

“First published in 1992, the PLMA’s annual Yearbook coverage has grown from fewer than 200 product categories to more than 700, reflecting the expansion and penetration of private label products in the marketplace,” said Brian Sharoff, PLMA president.

“The past year has even greater significance since it is the first full year of the impact of the recession. Not surprisingly, the statistics document the amazing increases in Private Brand popularity. But as most market researchers know, the growth of Private Brands is by no means a recessionary phenomenon. Its success began years before the current downturn and is rooted in increasing assortment, quality ingredients, innovative product concepts, and retailer commitment,” he added.

Data for the Yearbook was compiled by The Nielsen Company for the 52 weeks ending December 26, 2009. The 2010 Private Label Yearbook is distributed to at no charge to PLMA members as well as to retailers and wholesalers. All others may buy the publication for $1,500 by contacting PLMA at (212) 972-3131.



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.