Private Label Today


Nielsen data shows big private label gains across Europe

Private Label Share by Country Private label has built a market share fortress across Europe as supermarket brands surge during the coronavirus crisis. The trend is clear from the latest Nielsen data compiled for PLMA's 2020 International Private Label Yearbook which shows private label gaining market share last year in 14 of the 19 countries surveyed.

Market share for retailer brands was greater than 30% in all but one of the countries monitored by Nielsen. In Europe's largest retail markets, private label share stayed above 40% in the United Kingdom and Germany, and now accounts for nearly one of every three products sold in France. In Italy, market share climbed by more than 2 points, its biggest gain ever.

One of the biggest increases was posted in The Netherlands, where share was up more than 7 points to 37%. The unusually large gain came as sales from Aldi with its extensive private label program, were counted by Nielsen for the first time. In nearby Belgium, market share for retailer brands climbed to 44%.

In France, Nielsen's statistics gave private label a unit share of 31% and value share of 25% but the figures do not include sales at Lidl and Aldi, which makes true market share closer to 41% in units and 35% in value. Spain and Portugal remained very strong markets for private label. Half of all products sold in Spain were retailer brands, while market share in Portugal climbed nearly 3 points to over 43%.

In central and eastern Europe, market share stayed above 40% in Austria and above 30% in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The biggest increase was in Czech Republic, which advanced more than one point. Private label again accounted for half the products sold in Switzerland.

Norway led the way in Scandinavia, with market share climbing 2 points to more than 34%. Sweden increased to 33%, while Finland stayed above 30%.

In the Mediterranean, market share was above 31% in both Turkey and Greece. Turkey showed a big increase, gaining more than 2 points, climbing above 30% for the first time.

PLMA President Brian Sharoff called the gains “a signal that shoppers now choose the retailers brands first when it comes to making everyday grocery decisions. These statistics mirror consumer shopping habits before the coronavirus hit,” Sharoff continued. “When Nielsen calculates its first quarter 2020 results, I think everyone will see how strong private label has become.”

Private label products encompass all merchandise sold under a retailer's brand. That brand can be the retailer's own name or a name created exclusively by that retailer. In some cases, a retailer may belong to a wholesale group that owns the brands that are available to only the members of the group.

Major supermarkets, hypermarkets, drug stores and discounters today offer almost any product under the retailer's brand. Private label cover full lines of fresh, canned, frozen, and dry foods; snacks, ethnic specialties, pet foods, health and beauty, over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics, household and laundry products, DIY, lawn and garden, paints, hardware and auto aftercare.

For the consumer, private label represents the choice and opportunity to regularly purchase quality food and non-food products at savings compared to manufacturer brands, without waiting for promotional pricing. Private label items consist of the same or better ingredients than the manufacturer brands, and because the retailer's name or symbol is on the package, the consumer is assured that the product meets the retailer's quality standards and specifications.

Manufacturers of private label products fall into three general classifications:

  • Large manufacturers who produce both their own brands and private label products.
  • Small and medium size manufacturers that specialise in particular product lines and concentrate on producing private label almost exclusively.
  • Major retailers and wholesalers that operate their own manufacturing plants and provide private label products for their own stores.

The private label business is unique. It has it's own needs and objectives. That's why there is a trade association that serves the industry exclusively. Founded in 1979, the Private Label Manufacturers Association is the international trade organisation dedicated to the promotion of private label brands. With offices in Amsterdam and New York, PLMA represents more than 4,500 manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, ranging from companies that specialise in private label to those that produce private label products in addition to their own manufacturer brands. PLMA offers trade shows, programmes, and services that are specifically designed for the industry.