Circana Report Reveals Private Brands Surge Amidst Inflation

Supporting shoppers by investing in innovation and promotions is key for retailers

Circana, the leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior, ​​released a new report on the state of private brands (also referred to as store brands or private labels). Despite high inflation, private brands have experienced growth, surpassing $217 billion in sales in the United States market. The report, “CPG Private Brands Update,” provides an update on the store brand landscape, and identifies retailer opportunities to increase demand for their own brand and private brand offerings.

“Private brands are increasingly capturing market share from name brands, experiencing growth in both dollar sales and units,” said Mary Ellen Lynch, principal, Center Store Solutions, Circana. “This trend is driven by consumers, particularly those with children, as well as millennial and Gen X households without children, who are strategically employing a variety of methods to stretch their dollars amid high inflation.”

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Key insights from the report include:

Current State of the Private Brands Landscape

  • Dollar sales of private brands increased by 6% in 2023, and units increased by 0.9%
  • Sales were higher for private brand food and beverage (6.7%) compared to nonedible (5.1%)
  • Private brands gained share from name brands, increasing to 25.5% of total unit sales, up from 24.7% in 2022
  • Private brands grew both unit and unit share across general food, shelf-stable beverages, and refrigerated foods, as well as in beauty and home departments
  • Within food and beverage, private brands outperformed name brands, based on dollars and units for the core pantry
  • Retailers are treating their brands similarly to national brands by innovating with more clean labels, premium offerings and marketing support

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Who is Purchasing Private Brand Products? 

  • Households with children represent 35% of private brand food and beverage unit purchases, while millennial and Gen X households with no children represent 36% of sales
  • Within those same cohorts, middle-affluent shoppers are the most engaged with private brands, yet lower- and upper-affluent millennial and Gen X households with no kids are driving growth

Opportunities for Private Brand Growth

  • Consumers are recognizing the value of private brands, even in the salty snack aisle, where name brands typically dominate
  • Retailers can focus on the ways consumers are cooking today, and demonstrate how private brands work with small appliances, like air fryers and instant pots, for easy-to-prepare meals
  • Promoting store brands by leveraging digital marketing to lock in valuable cohorts like younger shoppers is critical
  • Retailers are increasingly focused on expanding shopper trials of their private brand products to deepen trust

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