The question private-label product managers continue to ask as they examine their products' performance and plan for the future: How well have PL products performed in today's highly competitive economy? The answer, it turns out, depends on who you ask.
Sources offering an upbeat outlook of the PL industry include the Private Label Manufacturers Assn.; in its 2011 Private Label Yearbook, the group reported PL brands in the U.S. have picked up by more than 2 percent and gained nearly 5 percent in drugstore chains. The Nielsen Co. reported PL sales hit an all-time high of $88.5 billion.
However, some sources are taking a darker view of the PL field. Ipsos Marketing has indicated that consumers' slipping perceptions of PL value, quality, flavor and other attributes could explain a decline in PL market share, while Symphony IRI Group's "Times and Trends" report indicates that dollar share growth among U.S. store-brand items is slowing, and unit share has declined.