Private brands have come a long way the past few years and they're no longer viewed as just low-cost alternatives at shelf, noted Aimee Becker, Senior Vice President Strategic Advisory at Daymon, a leader and pioneer in private brand development, during a recent SN Off the Shelf podcast. And that change in attitude toward private label has placed the category in an even greater position of strength during the pandemic.
“I think we’ve really shifted consumer attitudes away from this idea of generics or just a price play at shelf to really being true consumer brands,” Becker said. “This shift really started with retailers focusing on improving quality, and today we see that 86% of shoppers consider private brand quality to be equal to or better than the national brand.”
In addition, according to the Daymon Private Brand Intelligence Report, just under 90% of consumers say that, compared to national brands, they trust private brands just as much or more (89%) and that private brand variety is just as good if not better (87%).
“As we think about COVID specifically,” Becker continued, “private brands were really well positioned pre-pandemic. But when COVID hit, the strength and relevancy of private brands really became a little bit more pronounced. At the height of the pandemic, we definitely saw a lot of brand shifting and that really worked in favor of private brands. We think that we'll continue to see positive trajectory and momentum for private brands in the months to come.”
As for who the private brand shopper is, Becker said it crosses all demographics and pointed to data from the Daymon report.
“I think there tends to be this stigma of who the private brand shopper is,” she said. “But the private brand shopper is really everyone. Three in four shoppers buy at least one private brand item on every shopping trip. With that, a third of shoppers actually say that private brands comprise the majority of their shopping cart.
“Then conversely, you only have about 6% of shoppers saying that they exclusively buy national brands. If you take all of those facts together, everybody’s buying private brands in some way, shape or form.”
And Becker expects that trend to continue and grow, particularly among the younger Millennials who have been driving private label success before the pandemic hit. This group is really starting to abandon this cachet of legacy brands and is increasingly becoming brand-agnostic, she pointed out.
“What they’re looking for is products that are meeting their needs at the time and place they’re at,” she said. “As private brands are continuing to innovate and really engaging shoppers in a different way, we think we’ll continue to see that broaden.”
Check out our podcast with Aimee Becker below for insights on these and other areas of opportunity for private brands.