Australian Private Brands Drop Slightly

Over the last few years Australia has been a hotbed of Private Brand growth and controversy with manufacturers charging retailers with unfair practices and government officials weighing in on a daily basis. This article from the Australian marketing focused trade magazine “Marketing,” the article points to a minimal .7% decrease in Private Brand penetration year over year and ask provocatively if a bit hopefully if Private Brands are faltering at the big retailers in Australia.

Private label falters for first time in 5 years, erodes store loyalty

Private label supermarket brands have faltered for the first time in five years, with shoppers reverting back to branded goods putting private labels’ growth rate into decline.

The finding from Nielsen’s private label study show that while the majority of households buy private labels from Coles and Woolworths, its penetration dropped from 95.5% to 94.8% year on year for the July to September quarter.

The drop is believed to be due to the reduction in price of many branded goods as the price war in the supermarkets heats up, causing consumers to switch back from private labels to now-cheaper branded offers.

It’s been seen most markedly is the biscuit, canned fruit/ fruit snacks and cake/ pies and fresh pastries categories, which fell by 4.6%, 3.9% and 3.1% respectively, according to the researcher.

“There has been a closing of price gaps between branded and private label products recently which is being largely driven by retailer price wars,” Nielsen’s retail industry group executive director Kosta Conomos says.

The findings follow a report from IBISWorld in July which claimed private label sales had surged, particularly in some categories. However, a report from TNS earlier in the year warned of growing annoyance among consumers at Coles and Woolworths for pushing branded products off the shelves to make way for their own brands. Nielsen believes this backlash may also be a factor behind the decline.

The report also found years of battling for market share through private labels had also made Coles and Woolworths shoppers more price conscious and eroded loyalty to the stores themselves.

Consumers now see less price differentiation between Coles and Woolworths, according to the report, but instead viewed lower shelf prices, reward cards and private labels as a given.

“Shoppers are now seeing zero differentiation between pricing in Coles and Woolworths compared to three years ago when Woolworths was largely given credit for lower prices,” Conomos adds.

The proportion of consumers who shop between both Coles and Woolworths have risen to 88.1% in 2012, from 87.9% in 2011, Nielsen said.

SOURCE: Marketing Mag

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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.