Nielsen Reports that Private Brand Gains Share

Nielsen has released its latest sales and market share statistics and it shows that private brands are gaining market share against the national brands in America’s fastest growing retail channels.

For the 52-week period that ended 12/24/2016, private brands outperformed the national brands in the rapidly growing mass merchandisers segment of Nielsen’s total outlets database, which includes national retailers such as Walmart and Target, as well as some warehouse clubs and dollar store chains.

Private label dollar volume in the mass merchandisers/club/ dollar store segment climbed +4.4% to $49.6 billion, resulting in a +0.5 point market share gain to 16.6%. A similar pattern emerged in regard to units, with private label advancing +4.2% compared to only +0.2% for the brands. As a result, private label’s market share moved up +0.6 of a point to 19.7%.

These gains are especially important because the total channel sales for mass merchandisers, clubs and dollar stores are climbing at a much greater rate than in the supermarket channel. Dollar volume sales for Nielsen’s all retail outlets combined segment, which also includes drug chains, outpaced the supermarkets-only measure, increasing +0.8% compared to barely +0.1% growth for supermarkets.

Store brands’ market share declined in the slow-growth supermarket channel – measured at 18.4% dollar share and 22.3% unit share – as well as in Nielsen’s all outlets combined sector, but the data clearly indicate that separate from the adverse impact of supermarket numbers dragging down the overall private label results, market shares for retailer brands in the other outlets have experienced solid gains at the expense of national brands.

Private label’s success in mass merchandisers and other non-supermarket channels is also an important factor when estimating the total size of the private label market in the U.S.

According to the PLMA, Nielsen reports total private label sales for 2016 at $118 billion, these results do not include sales from some of the biggest and best store brands retailers in the country, such as Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s. Estimates of their private label sales would add $35 billion to the total and push the total U.S. private label market to more than $150 billion.



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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.