Store brand sales picked up in 2022 right where they left off at the end of last year, growing 4.2% in dollar volume across all U.S. retailing channels in the month of January, compared to the same period in 2021. The increase was about equal to the 4.4% growth of national brands, according to IRI data provided to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA).
Last year was a roller coaster ride for store brands. Sales were up, then down, but finished strong, with increases averaging about 5% over the last five months. The just-released “PLMA 2022 Private Label Report,” the association’s annual statistical guide for store brand sales, tells the whole story in detail.
Store brand dollar sales grew 1% to a record $199 billion in all U.S. retail channels in 2021, according to the report, based on IRI data. The private brand dollar share last year was 17.7%, while the unit share came in at 19.6%. Both represent increases over a three-year period.
In the eight largest departments covered by IRI, private label grew in six. In the largest category — refrigerated foods — store brands increased by 0.7%, followed by general merchandise (+1.7%), health care products (+0.2%), frozen (+0.8%), produce (+11.4%) and beverages (+2.7%).
Store Brands Thrived in Limping Economy
The figures reveal that the U.S. store brand market in 2021 was able to retain the unprecedented, Covid-fueled, double-digit sales gains from 2020. Retail brands jumped 12% in dollar sales in 2020 amid the shutdown of foodservice, a greater emphasis on cooking at home and the boom in online grocery shopping. That exceeded national brands’ gain, which were up 10%.
Moving into 2021, as the country and the foodservice sector began to reopen for in-person business, some expected that store brands would decline, giving back all or most of 2020’s huge increase. That did not happen.
“The main takeaway is that retailer brands are a vibrant industry and an important piece of the U.S. grocery business, especially in difficult economic times,” said PLMA President Peggy Davies.
The 2021 performance of store brands represents a return to the consistent, single-digit growth that existed in pre-pandemic years.
PLMA, in collaboration with IRI, provides market data of both store brands and national brands in 317 categories and 967 sub-categories. The data is refreshed monthly on the Unify data portal on the organization’s website.
The Private Label Manufacturers Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 to promote the store brands industry. It is the only trade group of its kind, representing 3,500 member companies in more than 75 countries.