Superbalist, the SA online fashion retailer owned by Naspers, expects to generate more than R1bn in annual revenue from its private-label, or in-house products, within the next three years.

Online retailers in other markets, including Amazon, are wading into the private-label game, often using the data they collect while acting as a platform for third-party sellers to curate their own ranges.

Superbalist launched its self-titled private-label range, which is designed in SA and mostly manufactured in the country, in early June. Its other in-house ranges, including Edit and Pop Candy, already account for 40% of Superbalist’s total business.

The retailer said in a statement that amid soaring demand for private-label fashion globally, its sales from that category will probably double annually for the next three years.

"Worldwide, the business of private labels is flourishing, with CB Insights reporting the sales growth of private labels to be three times higher than branded products," it said.

Claude Hanan, co-CEO of Superbalist.com, said that by producing its own lines, the retailer had "far more control so that we can move on trends immediately and get an idea to market faster than traditional brands".

"Costs are more efficient and as a result, margins expand," Hanan added.

Private-label products also allow the company to fill price and product gaps where third-party brands are falling short, "and to nimbly react to customer demand and data-driven insights”. 

A year ago, Naspers’s Media24 and Takealot.com businesses merged their online fashion brands, Spree and Superbalist. Takealot also owns food-delivery business Mr D Food.

While online sales have been steadily growing in SA, e-commerce accounts for slightly more than 1% of retail sales in the country. That remains well below the e-commerce penetration levels of developed markets.