Private Label Marketing Performance: An Analysis of Historical Trends Using Theories of Cumulative Change and Punctuated Equilibrium

  •  Ranga Chimhundu    


The article analyses historical trends in the development of private label and national brands using gradualist and
punctuated evolutionary theories. The purpose of the article is to unveil patterns that would give fresh insights
into the growth of private label in relation to national brands. The study makes use of qualitative and quantitative
data on private label historical trends in four countries. While the literature has depicted private label share
growth as gradual and incremental in nature, this study found that it is only on average that the yearly increase in
private label share could fit the gradualist description. In reality, the actual process is not always gradual. Often,
a period of gradual change and/or stability is followed by a punctuation, and vice-versa. The applicability of
punctuated equilibrium theory to the growth and market share development of private label is supported by the
results of this study.

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