Today it is 20 years since I founded IPLC.
More by coincidence than by choice, I started my career in the Private Label industry back in the 1980s. After graduation, the vast majority of my fellow students joined ‘blue chip’ companies. Some of my friends were surprised by my choice -one had not entered university in order to end up in what was perceived as being a somewhat dull and inferior industry such as Private Label. However, I was immediately fascinated by this complex and rapidly growing sector.
I worked for 18 years until 2003 for leading Private Label manufacturers in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Then I started IPLC.
At that time, the average market share of Private Label in Europe was around 5%. Today, including discount retailers, this is above 40%. The ballgame for brands has changed irreversibly. Many of them have been pushed to the defensive or have even disappeared.
The Private Label market is extremely competitive and complex. More professional players on both the retail and manufacturing sides have fuelled further market share growth.
Over the past 20 years, IPLC has grown into a team of Private Label professionals across 9 countries in Europe. Our collaborative networks allow us to have access to key decision makers in the industry. We allocate our resources not only to support our clients but also to enhance our understanding through our own research into relevant Private Label related topics.
As a team we make an effort to be on top of the latest trends and developments in the most sophisticated region for Private Label in the world. This allows us to support our clients around the world in the best possible manner. The market continues to develop at a phenomenal pace and own label thrives by a decline in brand loyalty, the rise of discount retailers and value-focused younger generations.
The debate on whether manufacturer brands will outlast Private Label may well continue but it is an irrelevant debate for the cost-conscious consumer. Does it really matter who makes your box of cereals, bottle of detergent or pack of batteries, as long as they do the job? These are not status symbols by any measure. The propensity to pay a premium for brands may well be on its way out, especially if the quality difference between alternatives is not discernible.
As IPLC grew, more and more professionals joined our team. I am incredibly grateful to be able to work with such great colleagues to share our knowledge and experience, and am eternally grateful to all of our clients who have worked with us to date.
I look forward to the years ahead with excitement – the opportunities within Private Label are endless!