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Private Label Brands Continue Double-Digit Growth Trend

Across all U.S. grocery channels, private label dollar volume jumped 10.3 percent, nearly twice the gain of national brands.

NEW YORK — Private label is on the rise. After experiencing double-digit growth in 2022, store brands are picking up right where they left off for the first quarter of 2023, with double-digit sales increases and greater market share in both dollars and units.

According to nationwide data provided exclusively to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) by Circana, store brands continue to outperform national brands in sales. Across all U.S. grocery channels, private label dollar volume jumped 10.3 percent, nearly twice the gain of national brands, which grew 5.6 percent for the same three-month period year over year.

Dollar share rose to 19.1 percent and unit share advanced to 20.8 percent vs. Q1 of 2022 when dollar share was 18.5 percent and unit share was 20.3 percent.

The figures in the data include 2023 food and nonfood sales in all outlets as of March 26, 2023.

"The Q1 results are particularly impressive since they are compared to 2022 sales figures, which were historically high for U.S. store brands," said PLMA President Peggy Davies. 

Other highlights from the report include:

  • As was the case last year, all brands shed units; however, as was the case in 2022, private label brand units decreased far less than those of national brands. During Q1 of 2023, they were off 1 percent vs. -3.9 percent for national brands, about one-fourth the decline. 
  • The disparity in unit sales can be attributed to consumers switching to store brands from national brands. It was even more pronounced in March, when private label brands were down only 0.7 percent compared to national brands, which were off five times more at 3.5 percent.
  • Among the 17 food and nonfood departments Circana tracks for PLMA, 15 saw increased store brand dollar sales during Q1 of 2023. Double-digit gainers were beverages (17.1 percent), bakery (16.8 percent), general food (16 percent), refrigerated (15.5 percent), floral (13.1 percent), deli prepared (12.4 percent) and health care (10 percent). 
  • Growth in other departments included deli cheese (9 percent), general merchandise (8.8 percent), beauty (7.4 percent), frozen (7.1 percent), produce (6.8 percent), deli meat (5.8 percent), liquor (5.8 percent) and health (4.3 percent). Tobacco (-11.8 percent) and meat (-1.6 percent) slipped.
  • When it comes to private label unit sales, six departments improved, led by floral (up 5 percent), deli prepared (2.1 percent), bakery (1.8 percent), general merchandise (1.3 percent), produce (0.8 percent) and liquor (0.7 percent). 

The next monthly report from Circana is due May 1.

Chicago-based Circana, previously The NPD Group and IRI, serves as an advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior. Through advanced analytics, cross-industry data and subject matter expertise, Circana provides insights and research that helps clients unlock business growth.

Founded in 1979, PLMA is a nonprofit trade organization that promotes the private label industry. The association represents more than 4,000 member companies worldwide.

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