Despite changing Government regulations, opportunities abound with consumers at the early parenting life stage
The demand for baby and mothercare products has seen a surge in the past decade with the market size in Hong Kong almost tripling as compared to 2007. While the long term growth has been healthy, yet due to policy regulations in recent years, the demand has fluctuated especially for Baby Formula as well as related nutrition categories. In order to manage a more sustainable growth driver for these categories – one surefire approach is to engage consumers through the total early parenting life stage rather than on a category or product basis – this is termed as “total parenting”.
The baby and mothercare products have seen rapid expansion and accounts for almost 15% of all FMCG sales in Hong Kong today. In the past decade, one of the key drivers for the spurt in baby and mothercare categories demand was the introduction of the Individual Visit Scheme years ago, however, the introduction of two-tin restriction and one trip per week policy, coupled with the impact of the Chinese e-commerce boom have slowed down the demand for Hong Kong products.
“With the ever-changing and complex market situation, despite the possible limitation, Nielsen sees the challenging yet rich opportunities ahead. Businesses now have to adopt a more flexible business approach than relying on old practices to fuel future growth,” Michael Lee, Managing Director, Nielsen Hong Kong & Macau said. “With this, Nielsen has introduced a total parenting engagement model to the market to cater to the change.”
According to a consumer survey done on Nielsen’s Mommy Panel, a vibrant online forum comprising almost 2500 Hong Kong mothers, consumers tend to be very well organized when embarking on the early parenting journey. For example, it is critical to engage mums-to-be to influence purchase decision on certain baby care categories as they would like to be well-prepared for the new baby’s arrival – six out of 10 have already purchased feeding bottles, five out of 10 have already purchased the first brand of diapers and body/skin care products and four out of 10 have already purchased a stroller. Similarly, in anticipation of becoming pregnant, as many as 25% of them start on maternal supplements to gear themselves up for the road ahead. The government’s efforts on breastfeeding is reinforced with almost 20% of mothers intending to breastfeed their babies beyond the first year. While experienced mothers tend to have higher incidence of breastfeeding, the first time mothers claimed to be try hard too.
By engaging with consumers from the moment they consider having a baby to the baby’s early years, brands have a better chance of maximizing consumer value and spending throughout this life stage. Hence this approach to total parenting calls for brands to shift focus from being category or product focused to offering engagement through the whole early parenting life stage; a move from short-term brand association to a longer term impact and affinity and from following conscious claimed response to unraveling subconscious latent needs and thinking with behavioral tracking. “This new concept does not only focus on the consumption pattern of a certain group of target consumers but focus on their brand associations and thinking throughout different stages of their lives such that businesses can capture their needs at every single moment of their lives,” said Michael.
Taking life stage focus as an example, it is important for marketers to get the instant insights of the mothers at their different life stage. According to results of Nielsen Neuroscience, brains of mothers are expanding and exploring for different kinds of information at all time. “It is therefore important to capture their perception at different stage of their lives by connecting with their subconscious to maximize their focus at different stages of their lives,” Michael suggested.
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. The Company’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Nielsen 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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