Selective Two-Child Policy Changes, Increasing Prosperity, Industry Confidence Drive Baby Care Growth
SHANGHAI – September 24, 2015 – The latest Nielsen survey finds baby care sales in China saw double digital growth (+18%) and reached nearly 103 billion RMB over last year, representing huge opportunities for manufacturers and retailers.
To better understand trends within baby care categories such as baby food and diapers and why consumers choose one brand over another, Nielsen polled online respondents in 60 countries including China who have made a baby care purchase in the past five years. The findings reveal important insights about the path to purchase and identify the online and offline sources most influential in the process. In China, changes in selective two-child policy, rapid urbanization, and strong confidence in China has encouraged the adoption of convenience-oriented lifestyles, making baby formula and prepared baby foods more desirable.
ORGANIC AND HEALTHY OPTIONS
More than one-third of Chinese respondents say good nutrition (36%) and safe ingredients/processing (43%) are most important when deciding what baby food product to purchase, the second and third most commonly cited attributes, respectively. Trusted brand tops the list, as cited by 45% of respondents. Organic and all-natural foods are also an important purchase consideration, particularly in Asia-Pacific, cited by 31% of respondents in each region. In comparison, 26% of African/Middle Eastern, 20% of Latin American and 18% of North American respondents say organic is an important consideration in their baby food purchasing decisions.
“Consumers are increasingly health conscious and looking for natural, minimally-processed foods, and the stakes are even higher when it comes to their babies,” said Kiki Fan, Nielsen China Managing Director “More parents are seeking foods that set their children up for a healthy life—even if it comes at a premium. We expect this segment will continue to grow as more parents can afford to trade up. In developed markets, where birthrates are lower and baby care categories are highly saturated, growth will primarily come from innovation and premiumization. In developing markets, innovation will be important, but increasing demand will be the biggest growth driver.”
BABY FOOD & DIAPERS
Within Asia, Chinese baby care consumers are most likely to purchase baby food (52%) and diapers (50%) regardless of price. In comparison, 36% of India, 36% of Japan and 21% of Australia respondents say they buy whatever brand they want regardless of price in their baby food purchasing decisions. In China, consumers also have stronger trust in name-brand (78%) compared to other countries in Asia-Pacific. As for brand loyalty, 73% of Chinese consumers have switched baby food brands and positive feedback on the brand from family and friends is the most important reason (52%) why they switched. Chinese consumers are slightly more loyal to diaper brands when compared with other countries in Asia. Only 63% of Chinese respondents have switched diaper brands. In comparison, 88% of Japan, 87% of Vietnam and 83% of Thailand respondents say they have switched diaper brands.
ONLINE PURCHASING TRENDS
Chinese consumers are more likely to purchase baby supplies in a physical store than online, but this trend is changing as more consumers switch to online channels. E-commerce retailers are able to compete on price and convenience due to reduced capital investment in physical infrastructure and, in some cases, the elimination of links in the supply chain. Online also offers a compelling proposition for busy parents—the convenience of shopping whenever, wherever they desire, often with free delivery to their front door.
What kinds of baby care products are Chinese consumers buying online? Chinese respondents are most likely to have bought baby toys (44%) and clothes (37%). Thirty-three percent of Chinese consumers say they’ve bought diapers online and 27% have bought baby food.
Regionally, Asia-Pacific leads the way in self-reported online purchasing, especially for diapers and baby food. Thirty-one percent of respondents in this region say they’ve bought diapers online and one-quarter has bought baby food. Within Asia, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Korea lead the way in online purchasing. E-commerce retail sales show impressive year-over-year growth in China.
“E-commerce’s strength in Asia has been driven by several factors,” said Kiki Fan. “Infrastructure improvements and increased smartphone and Internet penetration have brought more potential shoppers online, particularly in rural regions. Also, online product assortment is often much broader than in traditional channels, giving consumers access to a new world of goods that may not have been previous available.”
ABOUT THE NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY
The Nielsen Global Baby Care Survey was conducted between Feb. 23-March 13, 2015, and polled consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America who have made a baby care purchase in the past five years. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.
Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement, as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
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