Own-label is struggling to make any significant headway in the convenience sector despite improvements in appearance and product quality, according to exclusive research from MCA Insight & HIM.

Discover the choice own label

The recently-launched HIM UK Convenience Report 2019 indicates that, in the first part of 2019, 82% of baskets in the sector contained no own label products, up from 78% last year. The proportion has remained relatively stable over the past half a decade, with figures of 82%, 79% and 80% for the three previous years dating back to 2015, and the report highlights that 55% of convenience shoppers state that they like buying branded grocery products instead of own-label.

Own-label penetration in symbol stores and independents is particularly low. On average, only 13% of baskets in symbol stores and 14% in independents contain own label products, while managed c-stores and supermarket c-stores have a much higher penetration, at 34% and 45% respectively.

Blonnie Walsh, senior insight manager at HIM & MCA Insight says: “In the current economic environment, where squeezed disposable income and waste reduction are hot topics, it comes as a surprise to see the dominance of brands across the channel. With only 18% of baskets containing own label products, shoppers are not necessarily looking to trade down within convenience.

“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. It is 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.”

The survey is compiled from over 20,000 face-to-face shopper interviews across England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, conducted between 30 January and 3 April 2019. More information on the HIM & MCA Insight UK Convenience Report 2019 can be found here.