|Category||How brands in top 100 did||How category did|
|Crackers, Cookies, Bread||-1.4%||+4.3%|
Chart by Chen Wu
The top 100 packaged-goods brands collectively saw sales and market share slip significantly in the past year, according to a report from Catalina, adding to recent reports of woe for the industry's biggest players.
While prior reports have showed the biggest manufacturers in CPG have been shedding share to smaller ones for years, it was natural to assume top brands, which get the lion's share of management focus and marketing dollars, were faring better than the overall companies. Not so, according to the Catalina report, drawn from a representative sample of scanner data from 26,000 food, drug and mass-merchandise stores in company's in-store promotion network.
Catalina found sales for the top 100 brands collectively declined 0.8% to $56.8 billion, even as overall sales tracked by Catalina increased 6% for the year ended June 30.
The problem isn't limited to any one category -- such as food companies dealing with consumer shifts toward fresher, less processed options. Catalina found a similar pattern affecting baby, health, beauty, snack, household cleaning, beverage, pet, dairy, refrigerated meat and other categories. Frozen food had the biggest divergence, with sales of the category's eight brands in the top 100 declining 7.8% even as the category grew 3.5%.
Overall, 62 of the top 100 brands had declining sales. Even the 38 brands with rising sales on average lost share, with sales up 5.5% vs. average category growth of 7.2%. In all, 90 of the top 100 CPG brands lost market share in the past year, according to Catalina.
Though it analyzes the market differently, Catalina's findings are consistent with a report earlier this year from IRI Worldwide and Boston Consulting Group finding large CPG companies with sales of more than $5 billion annually collectively lost 2 points of market share in the $644 billion industry from 2009 to 2014. That continued a trend from a 2013 report, which found the big players lost 1.4 share points from 2009 to 2012.
Those IRI/BCG numbers don't take private labels into account, but Catalina found store brands accounted for an outsized portion of the share losses for the top 100 brands in 12 of the 14 categories tracked.
The 32 brands that grew sales did so primarily by increasing consumption from previously "loyal" buyers who had made 70% of their category purchases from the brand in the past year, said Catalina U.S. President Todd Morris. New buyers accounted for only 0.7 points of the 5.5% sales lift for those growing brands. Defections from previously loyal buyers accounted for all the drop for the 68 decliners.
"Far and away, the current buyer of the brand is where the sales lift is won or lost, whether that brand is no longer meeting a need and demand is shifting to new or niche players or to private-label offerings," Mr. Morris said. "We're seeing the long tail of brands are winning the hearts and minds of shoppers."
That echoes comments made by Unilever VP-Global People Data and Marketing Analytics Shawn O'Neal at an Association of National Advertisers forum earlier this month: "I'm not losing share to P&G and other CPG companies. I'm losing it to small players who are finding niche products."