Report: Closing price gap contributing to PL share decline

CHICAGO — Private-label share is slipping across several key drug store categories, according to SymphonyIRI Group’s latest Times & Trends report, “Private Label: Brand Positioning in the New World Order,” published Wednesday.

Within the drug channel, private-label share of sales fell sharply during the past year. Some of these declines occurred in health-related categories and the beauty department, both noteworthy because they occurred in departments that are generally strongholds for drug retailers, according to the SymphonyIRI Group report.

“Both manufacturers and retailers know that private label is not a panacea,” stated Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends for SymphonyIRI. “Private-label products remain, on average, 29% lower priced than national brands. Remove that price advantage and dollar and unit sales could plummet," she said. "In fact, the shrinking private-label price gap very likely contributed to some of the private-label share losses experienced during the past year."

“At nearly 23% of [consumer packaged goods] unit sales across retail channels today, private-label products certainly have momentum and command a sizeable share of consumers’ CPG spending,” stated John McIndoe, SVP marketing of SymphonyIRI. “However, this momentum is not demonstrated equally across channels, retailers, departments or categories. This means there is room for private-label and national brand manufacturers to capitalize on opportunities."

Despite some of the share loss in the drug channel, private label has an above-average and growing presence in 30 of the top 100 CPG categories. The most sizeable private-label share increase came in the refrigerated salad/coleslaw category, which has jumped more than 20 points during the past three years.

National brands are entrenched in 22% of the top 100 CPG categories. Cat/dog litter, diapers, cat food, eye/contact lens care and single-serve dinners are categories where national brands hold above average share of spending and are successfully winning even more share. In six of the top 100 CPG categories, private-label share is above average, but national brands are winning share of spending.

SymphonyIRI is offering a free webinar, titled “Private Label: Brand Position in the New World Order,” at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Oct 13. To register for the webinar, hosted by Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, click here.

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