For the first half of 2023, private label or so called store brands continued to post record sales and share as they have for the past 18 months in the USA, according to research for the Private Label Manufacturers Assn. (PLMA).
However, while dollar sales were up, unit sales were slightly down. And all the following discussion is for all categories of products; while food is overwhelmingly the largest share of private label, there are several non-food categories.
Store brand dollar sales across all U.S. retail outlets increased 8.2%, vs. a gain of 5.1% for national brands, according to Circana (formerly IRI) data from the six-month period ending June 18, compared to the same six-month period in 2022.
Further, measured against the first six months of 2021, dollar sales during the same period this year improved by 16%, or about $17 billion (totaling $91 billion in 2021 vs. $108 billion in 2023).
But all those figures are in dollar sales, and inflation has had a positive impact on dollar sales, not on volume. Unit sales for the six months decreased 0.5%, while national brands fell 3.4%. That gap may be widening, PLMA notes. For the month of June alone, the most recent Circana report finds that while store brand units were off 0.6%, national brands dropped 5.1%.
Store brand market share in dollars rose to a record 18.8% for the half-year, while unit share moved up to 20.5%, also a new high. Total store brand dollar sales for the first six months of this year were $108 billion and unit sales were 26.4 billion. Totals last year were $100 billion in dollar sales and 26.5 billion in unit sales.
Among the categories Circana tracks for PLMA, the beverage category experienced the largest store brand dollar sales gain over the past 52 weeks, up 19%; followed by general food and refrigerated, both ahead 16%; then frozen and general merchandise, both +8%. Home care (7%), beauty (5%) and health (3%) also gained. In the two smallest departments, dollar sales in liquor were ahead by 20%, but in tobacco they fell 13%.