Own-brand sales dropping in convenience

MCA Insight and HIM report highlights tendency for shoppers to buy branded products

Fewer shoppers in the convenience channel are picking up own-brand products, according to research carried out by MCA Insight and HIM.

Figures in the HIM UK Convenience Report 2019 shows that 82% of baskets contain no own-label products, while only 18% of shoppers have bought any non-branded items so far this year – a drop of 22% compared to the previous 12 months.

The report has identified that there’s a long-term decline in the popularity of own-brand products, with 55% of convenience shoppers admitting that they prefer to buy branded grocery products than own label.

The shift is at odds with the growth of own-branded products in the multiples and Senior Insight Manager Blonnie Walsh says the trend in convenience is even more surprising when you consider wider societal issues.

“In the current economic environment, where squeezed disposable income and waste reduction are hot topics, it comes as as a surprise to see the dominance of brands across the channel,” explained Walsh.

“With only 18% of baskets containing own-label products, shoppers are not necessarily looking to trade down with convenience.”

A closer look at the numbers suggest that symbol stores and independents are driving the decreased penetration for own-label products, with only 13% of baskets in symbol stores and 14% in independents picking up own labels. Conversely, there’s a much higher rate in managed convince stores and super convenience stores, which have 34% and 35% respectively.

The report also highlights that certain categories are driving the numbers, with certain branded products outstripping own brands with regularity.

“Drinks categories are particularly brand led, with energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, hot drinks-to-go and lager making up four of the top five brand-led categories,” Walsh added.

“It’s important to understand that this is an overall average and does not mean there is no room for own label within convenience. Managed c-stores and super c-stores are much more balanced in terms of own label vs. brands, but independents and symbol groups are some way behind.

“Retailers, suppliers and wholesalers need to understand the shopper dynamics behind own label in order to identify the categories with that offer the best opportunity.”

Blonnie Walsh HIM HIM Convenience Report 2019 MCA Insight Senior Insight Manager