Perceptions about private label are overwhelmingly favorable—almost three-quarters of global respondents (71%) say store-brand quality has improved over time, according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Price is a primary driver of purchase intent among 70% of global respondents, but quality is important, too. Two-thirds (67%) believe private labels offer extremely good value for money.
However, more than seven in 10 Taiwan respondents say it’s important to get the best price on a product and more than half (52%) compare store brand (private label) prices in my primary store to other stores. These attitudes point to “price” as the key driver for Taiwanese consumers while purchasing private label products.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Private Label polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries to understand how consumer perceptions about private label quality, value, assortment and packaging translate into sales around the world.
It’s worth noting that the perception of private-label quality has improved overtime for half (49%) of Taiwan respondents. This sentiment is also reflected in market performance—the sales value growth rate of Taiwan private label is more than five times total fast-moving consumer goods, according to Nielsen’s retail annual sales figures ending October. Sales of private-label food products grew 11.3% in that time period, which is seven times the growth rate for name-brands food products.
Furthermore, more than two-fifths believe that some store-brand products are of higher quality than name brands (46%) or that store brands are a good alternative to name brands (45%). More than half of respondents say they like it when retailer’s store-brand offerings include lowest-priced/value items, national-brand equivalents, and premium products (57%) and only buy store-brand products from retailers they trust (56%).
“Private-label development has room to grow in Taiwan due to two main factors: Positive consumer perceptions and low market share. More than one-third (36%) of Taiwanese respondents are willing to pay the same or more for a store brand they like. In addition, while convenience stores only represent 2.8% of the total fast-moving consumer goods market, private-label market share performance in this channel is outstanding for its over sixty percent of total private-label sales”, said Terri Kang, retailer services associate director, Nielsen Taiwan.
Two areas where retailers can focus their private-label development plans include improving quality perceptions and packaging. Half of Taiwanese respondents say private-label products are not suitable when quality matters. And while two-thirds of global respondents say that store brands are usually extremely good value for money, only one-third of Taiwan respondents agree. Moreover, seven in 10 Taiwanese respondents say that it is easy to tell the difference between a brand-name package label and a private-label package label and more than half (52%) believe store brands have cheap-looking packaging.
GLOBAL PRIVATE LABEL SHARE
While opinions are positive, private label development varies greatly around the world. Store-brand value share is at or above 15% in the developed regions of Europe, North America and the Pacific. In developing regions, it is below 10% in most countries in the study. In fact, private-label share is 5% or less in markets such as China, India and Brazil. There does, however, appear to be a ceiling for growth. Even in the most developed European store-brand markets, private-label share has remained around 45% for the past 10 years.
“Private label is most developed in Europe, particularly in Western markets where sales account for roughly $1 of every $3 spent in the consumer packaged goods market,” said Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, director of retail industry insight, Nielsen Europe. “Share of basket for even the heaviest private-label buyers hits a tipping point around 50% because brands have the growth advantage. Commitment to innovation, analytics and marketing are effective strategies for maintaining and growing share. Successful store brands are ones that invest in brand management activities like their manufacturers peers and they build brand equity by providing value, standard and premium offerings for consumers at all price points.”
Around the world, private label sales and shares are strongest in commodity-driven, high-purchase categories and those where consumers perceive little differentiation, such as paper products, milk and some medications and remedies like aspirin. But the definition of a commodity varies greatly from country to country. In developed markets like the U.S., Europe and Australia, this includes products such as milk, bread and eggs. In India, however, commodities include products that are distinctly local, such as ghee, rice and atta flour used to make bread.
While some commonalities exist, the categories where private-label market shares are strongest can vary dramatically by country. Even in the most developed European markets, big differences exist in private label and brand performance for each category. For example, annual sales of private label baby-care products in the U.K. increased 16.4% between the 12 months ending August 2013 and the same period in 2014, but the opposite was true in Germany where private label baby-care sales decreased 7.3%. Likewise, annual sales of private label alcoholic beverages increased 13.2% in Italy, but the category declined 4.1% in the U.K.
“Private label growth is partially driven by what’s available on store shelves, as it’s an offer-driven market,” said Vandenheede. “But it’s a misconception to believe that increasing the breadth of private-label assortment will automatically drive sales. Retailers must pursue the right selection, not just a bigger selection. Delisting decisions that replace high-penetration, high-frequency niche brands with private-label products can drive shoppers to the competition. Private label growth requires a market-by-market approach that is tailored to consumer needs in each country.”
ABOUT THE NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY
The Nielsen Global Survey of Private Label was conducted between Feb. 17 and March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6 %. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 %Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.
Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.Nielsen.com.