China’s babies are getting more pampered than ever, according to new research from market intelligence agency Mintel. Over the past five years, China’s baby personal care market has witnessed rapid development, with the relaxation of the one-child policy and premiumization, seeing total sales grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 19% between 2013-18, reaching RMB9,617 million in 2018.
What is more, the Chinese baby personal care market is estimated to see sustained growth, with total sales value set to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% in the next five years to reach RMB18,888 million in 2023.
Delving deeper into the different segments within the Chinese baby personal care industry, baby skincare is the largest segment, accounting for 60% of the total baby personal care market in 2018. Meanwhile, the baby bath and soap segment comes in second, taking up 31% of the overall market, followed by the baby hair segment, which accounts for roughly 10% of the baby personal care market in China in 2018, according to Mintel research.
“The baby personal care market in China grew at a considerable rate in recent years and will see sustained growth in the next five years,” says Vicky Zhou, beauty and personal care research analyst, Mintel China Reports. “The relaxation of the one-child policy and premiumization of consumption have contributed towards this, particularly as Chinese consumers show a strong purchase intent for high-quality baby products. Although the current slower birth rate will affect the market, increased spending on each child and higher usage frequency should make up for the market’s growth.”
In terms of usage, baby insect repellents look to be the sector winner witnessing the biggest increase in usage frequency; as many as 47% of Chinese consumers aged 20-39 with children aged 0-3 say that they have been using baby insect repellent more often in the last year. Meanwhile, nearly half (46%) of Chinese consumers say that they have been using baby shower gels and baby body lotions/creams (respectively) more often in the past year, rounding up the top three products with the highest change in usage frequency among Chinese consumers.
At the other end of the spectrum is baby suncare, which has recorded the least increase in usage frequency with just 15% of Chinese consumers having used this more often in the past year. Showcasing its nicheness in the market, over three in five (65%) consumers say that they haven’t used baby suncare in the last year.
“Our research shows that baby insect repellent had the biggest increase in usage frequency in the past year, suggesting that parents are more willing to take their babies out and are using products to protect their babies’ skin. This gives brands an opportunity to create more usage occasions for baby personal care products, with the outdoors presenting an ideal starting point. Meanwhile, the low penetration of baby suncare indicates that Chinese parents are still sticking to familiar products and lack the awareness in using baby suncare products to avoid sunlight. In order to gain ground it is essential that baby suncare brands deliver safety messages to parents and prove the effectiveness of protecting their babies’ skin,” continues Zhou.
With baby personal care products, skin is always a priority among Chinese parents. According to Mintel research, ‘solve skin problems’ (71%) and ‘contain ingredients that can benefit skin’ (68%) are the top two attributes that parents are willing to pay a premium for when purchasing baby personal care products.
Finally, highlighting the problems among Chinese consumers when choosing baby personal care products, just over a third (34%) say that the biggest concern for them is not knowing if a product is suitable for their babies, while 32% say they are afraid to try products that they have not used before. Furthermore, 29% respectively say that they don’t know the ingredients used in the products, and lack understanding the advantage of each brand.
“The baby personal care sector is definitely a space where we see an upgrade in consumption habits. Parents are interested in and willing to pay a premium for baby personal care products with premium claims, specifically products that can solve skin problems or contain ingredients that can bring benefits to their babies’ skin. This indicates that parents are eager to deal with skin issues. But at the same time, Chinese parents have difficulty warming up to baby personal care products that are unfamiliar to them. Keeping this in mind, baby personal care products should upgrade their attributes from merely providing cleanliness or moisturisation, to positioning them as skin care and protection for babies,” Zhou concludes.