Becoming a parent can be a daunting endeavor, full of many “firsts.” But before first words and steps, come first foods. So who do new parents turn to most for advice about the best baby food/formula to buy for the first time? The short answer is: family and friends. Forty-four percent of global respondents say they learned about baby food from loved ones, and nearly four-in-10 global respondents (38%) say that recommendations from friends and family had the most influence on their purchase decisions.
But consumers don’t just rely on their circles of friends and family; recommendations from health experts are also highly influential. Thirty-six percent of global respondents say they learned about foods/formula from a baby health expert, and 34% say these opinions influenced their purchase decisions.
Regionally, recommendations from health care experts top the list of most influential information sources in Latin America, cited by 42% of respondents, while their influence is significantly below average in North America, cited by only 18%.
“Marketers must prove their value to not only the shopper but to a broader network of trusted sources,” said Liz Buchanan, director, Global Professional Services, Nielsen. “Product endorsements from doctors, hospitals and health care professionals can hold tremendous clout with parents. As a parent’s first introduction to baby food/formula is often from these trusted advisors, aligning offerings with affiliations can provide an instant gateway to first-time users. But quality and good customer service will keep customers coming back.”
TV ads are also an important source of information, but their influence on decision-making is notably lower. One-third of consumers say they learned about baby foods through a TV ad, but less than one-quarter (23%) say this source influenced purchasing, a 10-percentage point difference. The use of TV ads to learn about new products and to influence purchasing decisions is well below the global average in Europe (22% use, 13% say they’re influential) and North America (20% and 13%, respectively).
Similar gaps between the percentage that use a source to learn about a product versus use a source to influence purchase decisions also exist for the other sources included in the survey. For example, the presence of a product on store shelves is a key source of awareness for nearly one-third of global respondents (30%)—including 36% in North America, where it’s the most commonly cited source—yet only 17% globally say it influenced their purchase decision.
Other findings include:
- Almost half of baby food (46%) value sales come from North America and Europe, while Asia-Pacific accounts for 49% of baby food and 53% of formula value sales. More than half (51%) of diaper value sales come from North America and Europe, but the most rapid growth is happening in developing countries.
- Asia-Pacific leads global respondents who say they purchase baby care products online.
- Organic baby food value sales increased 26% over the past two years in 16 select markets, while non-organic products declined 6%.
- Skin protection and comfort are the most important diaper purchase considerations among global respondents.
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Baby Care Report.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Baby Care Survey was conducted Feb. 23 – March 13, 2015, and polled online respondents in 60 countries who have made a baby care purchase in the past five years throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. 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.