Even as grocery price inflation moderates, store brands are seeing the same rate of growth as they did last year—with double-digit jumps and increased market share in both dollars and units, according to data released Monday by the Private Label Manufacturers Association.
Private-label growth is far outpacing that of national brands, the study, which was conducted by Circana, found. Store brand dollar volume increased 10.3% for the quarter ended March 26, nearly twice the 5.6% gain of national brands compared to the year-ago period.
Plus, store brands saw a smaller decline in unit sales than national brands during the quarter, down about 1% compared to a decrease of 3.9% for national brands.
“This disparity in unit sales can be attributed to consumers switching to store brands from national brands,” the PLMA said in a statement. “It was even more pronounced in March, when store brands were down only 0.7% compared to national brands, which were off five times that figure at 3.5%.”
In 2022, store brands’ annual dollar volume rose by $23.2 billion, setting a record of $228.6 billion in sales in all U.S. retailing channels—an 11.3% increase over the prior year, according to PLMA’s annual report, which was released in February.
“A major reason for the double-digit surge was that the inflationary environment motivated more shoppers to try, buy, like and remain loyal to store brands because of the quality and value they provide,” the PLMA said in a statement at the time.
For the first quarter, store brands’ dollar share rose to 19.1% and unit share grew to 20.8%, up from 18.5% and 20.3% respectively a year ago.
Fifteen of the 17 food and non-food departments tracked by Circana reported increased store brand sales during the first quarter. Biggest gains came in beverages (+17.1%), bakery (+16.8%), general food (+16%), refrigerated (+15.5%), floral (+13.1%), deli prepared (+12.4%) and health care (+10%).
Only tobacco, down 11.8%, and meat, down 1.6%, lost ground, the report said.
In unit sales, store brand floral rose 5%, deli prepared was up 2.1%, bakery rose 1.8%, general merchandise increased 1.3%, produce climbed o.8% and liquor was up 0.7%.
“The Q1 results are particularly impressive since they are compared to 2022 sales figures, which we historically high for U.S. store brands,” PLMA President Peggy Davies said in a statement.