Own-brand products move up

One in five supermarket products now purchased by consumers is a private label one, as shown by a recent survey conducted by Giorgos Baltas, assistant professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business (ASOE). Currently a central issue for retailers, preference for private label products is on the rise, with the study’s findings confirming estimates by sector experts that domestic market trends are similar to the global growth patterns of such products. In addition, private label products contribute to the much sought-after differentiation which retail chains strive to achieve by enhancing product line content and features. «It seems that we are heading for consumer product markets where retailers’ own brands would share consumer preference with major and well-known brands, leaving less shelf room for minor names,» Baltas said, adding that «some minor manufacturers specializing in certain market segments indifferent to big brands may survive.» According to the study, 89.9 percent of respondents believe that private labels are better priced. As far as quality goes, 38.4 percent (compared to 41.3 percent in last year’s survey) view such products as inferior to major brands, but 54.8 percent (against last year’s 51.5 percent) said quality was the same. Nevertheless, 6.8 percent replied that private label quality was higher. With regard to packaging, 40.5 percent (44 percent last year) of the sample said it was worse, while 55 percent said it was equal and 4.4 percent viewed private label packaging as superior to major brands. Asked to judge private label products overall, 36.2 percent said they were worse, 7.4 percent replied they were better and almost one in two believed major and private brands were equal. Baltas’s conclusion is that private label products enjoy a major advantage in terms of price over major manufacturers’ items, while consumer sentiment regarding the remaining criteria is mixed. However, nearly half of consumers said they were content with private labels, with just 8.1 percent declaring dissatisfaction with such products. The largest proportion of private labels are sold by discount chains (44.4 percent) followed by major chains (19.2 percent) and small chains. Considering the lower price of private label items, it is estimated that this segment holds a 15 percent share in the market.