Private Label Today


Market Shares Climbing to All-Time Highs in Five Countries.

The latest data compiled for PLMA's 2019 International Private Label Yearbook show that in 17 European countries market share for private label stands at 30% or more. Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom lead the way with the highest market shares at or above 50% of the 20 countries researched by Nielsen. Brian Sharoff, President of PLMA, said, “The latest Nielsen statistics reveal clearly that the popularity among consumers of private label across Europe remain enormous. In 17 countries researched at least every third product sold is a private label product. In the lead are Spain and Switzerland where every second product sold is a retailer brand.”

In Europe’s largest economy, Germany, private label market share stayed above 44% for the third consecutive year. In the UK, where supermarkets are investing in their private label programmes to meet competition from the discounters who also rely on private label, market share is climbing to approximately 47%. Private label’s share has remained above 40% in the UK ever since Nielsen began compiling data for PLMA in 1997.

Private label reached an all-time high in Belgium, with its market share there climbing to nearly 44% for the first time. Market share also increased to its highest levels ever in four other countries: Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands and Turkey. Two years in a row the biggest market share gain was posted in Turkey, where private label climbed by nearly 2 points to almost 29%. In Scandinavia, there were gains in Sweden, Norway and Finland, with market shares in all three countries above 30%. The biggest growth in these Nordic countries is in Norway with a gain of more than 1 point.

Private label share also was at 30% or above in four central and eastern European countries—Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia—led by Hungary with 34%. Market share remains above 40% in Austria.

Market share stayed at approximately 20% in Italy for the seventh consecutive year. Prospects for retailer brands look to improve as the commitment of retailers to their private label programmes in the country indicate a growing popularity of private label.


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.