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Urbanization, growth of middle class, and increased number of women in the workforce propel baby food/diaper growth

10% of households in SEA have children below 1 year old; 13% have children from 1-2 years old

Most new and existing parents in Singapore seek recommendations from family and friends in the purchase of baby food and diapers

SINGAPORE  – August 25, 2015 – Rapid urbanization, the growth of the middle class and rising rates of female participation in the labor force, especially in many developing markets, are expected to stimulate growth in global baby food sales, which Nielsen estimates will reach nearly $30 billion in 2015 and in the global diaper market which is projected to exceed $29 billion, according to a new report released today by global performance measurement company, Nielsen.

The Nielsen report, which explores trends within baby care categories such as baby food and diapers and why consumers choose one brand over another, highlights considerable opportunities in Southeast Asia for baby care manufacturers due to the region’s young and growing population.

One in ten consumers in Southeast Asia report having a child below the age of one in their household, one of the highest levels in any region and double the global average of 5%. A further 13% of consumers in the region have children aged 1 to 2 years old in their household compared to 9% globally. 

“When it comes to caring for their little bundles of joy, parents are highly discerning—from the food they put in their mouths to the diapers they put on their bottoms, there is little room for compromise, and they’re willing to spend more for quality,” states Connie Cheng, Executive Director, Shopper Solutions Lead, Nielsen Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific. “Growing affluence, urbanization and the increasing number women in the workforce are major factors influencing the adoption of convenience-oriented products such as baby formula, prepared baby foods and diapers.”

However, competition in the baby care market is fierce and numerous branded and store-brand products at various price points compete for attention. Moreover, the window for purchasing baby care products is relatively short.

“Despite the challenges, opportunities in the baby care market are substantial,” advises Cheng.  “Achieving competitive advantage in a space dominated by only a few major brands is possible through a deep understanding of what is driving product choice.”


45% of Singaporeans seek trusted brands first when deciding on which baby food to purchase. Safe ingredients/processing (39%), good nutrition (35%), organic and all-natural foods (23%) are also top considerations.

“Greater awareness of the importance of health and nutrition is leading consumers to look for natural, minimally-processed foods, and when it comes to their babies, consumers are especially particular— even if their demands come at a premium,” observes Cheng. “Parents are prepared to trade up and this will drive continued growth in the segment, albeit that growth will come from different sources for different markets. In developed markets, where birthrates are lower and baby care categories are highly saturated, growth will be spurred by innovation and premiumization; while in developing markets, increasing demand will be the biggest growth driver.” 


When it comes to attributes in choosing the brand and type of diaper to buy for their babies, more than four in 10 Singaporeans (42%) would go for diapers that promise no leakage. Skin protection/good for sensitive skin (41%) and good fit /comfortable to wear (37%) also form part of the top three criteria when it comes to selecting the choice of diapers for their loved ones.  


The Nielsen report highlights the importance of recommendations from family and friends as the most essential source of information for new parents in learning about which baby food and diapers to buy for their babies. 

Similarly, 46% of Singaporeans listen to friends/family when it comes to making purchase decisions for baby food, followed by information available on parenting websites (24%) and recommendations from baby health experts (21%). 

When it comes to influencing purchase for diapers, slightly more than two in five consumers (41%) say recommendations from family and friends had the most significant influence on their purchase decisions, followed by the products displayed on shelf in store (22%) and parenting websites (19%).


While consumers of baby care products in Southeast Asia are most likely to purchase baby supplies in a ‘bricks and mortar’ store, online channels are gaining momentum with 19% of consumers having purchased diapers online and 17% having purchased food online. Locally, similar trends have been observed as Singaporeans have bought diapers (19%) and baby food (9%) online.  

“Online 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,” explains Cheng.  “From the consumer’s perspective, purchasing baby care products online offers a compelling proposition for busy parents. Online shopping is extending store hours and this helps the parents to better juggle both family and work demands.  The enablers of online shopping translate into convenience, choice and price-value for a shopper.  With its predictable consumption rates and long shelf life, baby categories like diapers and baby wipes lend themselves well to e-commerce.”  


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. In Singapore, the sample size ranges from 80 to 233, depending on the survey segments. 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