Private Label Today

Private labels conquer consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets

In 2023, European shoppers bought more private label items than in 2022. This increase in number of items sold is a remarkable difference with 2022. That year, private label only gained volume share because its volume decline was less than falling sales of branded products. In 2022, both branded and own label couldn’t match the 2021 sales levels, which peaked as a result of Covid-19. But in 2023, consumers massively switched to private labels, as many worried about high inflation rates.

In the latest update of PLMA’s International Private Label Yearbook for the first quarter of 2024, the data shows thriving private label market shares across 17 European countries, as reported by NielsenIQ.

The overall private label share has experienced growth, reaching 38.2% based on the data of the first quarter of 2024, marking a 0.9% increase compared to the first quarter of 2023. NielsenIQ's survey indicates a notable increase in retail brands across 16 out of the 17 countries analyzed, with Switzerland being the sole exception, witnessing a slight decline in private label share.

Europe continues to assert its dominance in the global private label market, with 10 markets maintaining a market share above 30%, and 6 markets surpassing the 40% threshold. Noteworthy growth in private label share has been observed in Portugal (+3.1%), Spain (+1.7%), France (+1.3%), and the Czech Republic (+1.1%). Despite a decline, Switzerland retains its position as the country with the highest share across the 17 countries, standing at 51.8% (-0.1% compared to the previous year).

The collective private label share of Europe's largest markets - Germany, the United Kingdom, and France - stands at 40.1%, marking a 1.0% increase from the previous year. Significant growth has been witnessed in categories such as Frozen Food, Ambient Food, and Confectionery & Snacks.

Spain and Portugal have experienced notable share growth in Private Label, particularly in frozen food (+2.9%). However, the healthcare category in these countries has seen a decline in share.

Belgium and The Netherlands have witnessed a modest increase of 0.3% in private label share, with significant growth observed in ambient food, paper products, and healthcare categories.

Scandinavian countries collectively experienced a growth of 0.8% in private label share, with paper products showing the highest growth (+2.0%), while alcoholic beverages witnessed a decline (-0.7%).

In Eastern Europe, private label share is on the rise, particularly in perishable food and paper products, albeit with a decline in the healthcare category.

NielsenIQ's data indicates that perishable & frozen foods, confectionery & snacks, and ambient food are the top three categories in terms of private label value share, accounting for an average of 47.3%, representing a total of 250 billion euros across the 17 European countries tracked. Overall private label sales across these countries have grown by 31 billion euros.

In an inflationary environment, Europe’s consumers massively embrace private labels, appreciating their price and quality.


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 offer products under the retailer's brand. Private label covers 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, auto care.


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 classifications:
Large manufacturers who produce both their own brands and private label products.
Small and medium size manufacturers that specialise in 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 stores.