In the European retail industry, there is currently an unprecedented prominence of private labels. According to our industry experts, the sales and market share of private label brands have climbed to an all-time high in countries including Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and Norway. Our experts believe that some of the key drivers behind the success of private labels are the expansion of retailing around the world, the emergence of e-commerce, the success of discounters, and changing millennial shopping habits. Furthermore, Private labels allow companies in the retail industry to offer something distinct to their customers. With intensifying competition in the retail industry, private labels have grown to include exclusive products aimed at increasing brand loyalty.
The rise of millennials
Millennials are expected to outnumber baby boomers over the next decade as the generation with the highest discretionary spending power. Millennials are known to be experimental in trying out new products and consequently, private labels are becoming increasingly popular among this group. They demand products that do more, provide greater convenience and offer a variety of lifestyle options and are known to undertake extensive research before buying products. Loyalty to established brands in FMCG cannot be expected from millennials. As a result, almost all major retailers in Europe have developed sophisticated private label programs that give tough competition to established FMCG brands.
Attractive and meaningful packaging
Modern retailers have realized the importance of attractive and meaningful packaging and generally, they have been succeeding in using packaging to get the right message across to shoppers. In the case of private label, it is mostly up to the retailer to set the specification, and there has been some heavy investment in packaging solutions. Apart from increasing the market share, private labels have also undergone stratification with the rise of premium and mid-range offerings besides the traditional bargain ones. Stratification has been in practice over several decades. Today, however, we can see stratification based on factors including organic, natural, gluten-free, and value-based.
The UK is a market where players in the retail industry use private-labels to reinforce an already-strong store equity position. The major supermarkets’ strategy has been to grow private-label sales. This can particularly be seen in fresh foods, while reducing the range of packaged goods. Retailers are gradually expanding their private-label brands to include healthier options, including for consumers with special dietary needs, and recommends looking for opportunities to remove, reduce or replace undesirable ingredients in their prepared foods. The benefits are also being prominently highlighted on packages and with in-store signage.
Private labels are being disrupted on many various levels due to the rise of ecommerce. Several top ecommerce companies are fragmenting the path to purchase and opening new opportunities for private labels. E-commerce platforms are opening up many doors to expand the sales of private labels.