MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to caring for their babies, parents only want the best—from the food they put in their mouths to the diapers they put on their bottoms, and they’re willing to spend for it. In a report released by global performance measurement company, Nielsen, growth in global baby food sales is estimated to reach nearly US$35 billion in 2015 while global diaper market is projected to exceed US$27 billion.
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 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.
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 thanks to the region’s young and growing population.
In Southeast Asia’s developing countries such as the Philippines, one in 10 consumers report having a child below the age of one in their household, double the global average of 5%. A further 12% of Filipino respondents in the report have children aged 1 to 2 years old in their household compared to 9% globally (See chart 1).
However, for baby care manufacturers, the battle for baby bucks come with a fair share of challenges. 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, “states Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen in the Philippines. “To achieve success in a space dominated by only a few major brands, it is critical to have a deep understanding of what is driving product choice.”
ORGANIC AND HEALTHY OPTIONS
For Filipino respondents who admitted to have bought baby food in the last five years, trusted brand (47%), good overall nutrition (46%), good price/value (45%), and safe ingredients/processing (43%) are the most important criteria when deciding which brand and type of baby food to purchase. Organic and all-natural foods are also an important purchase consideration, cited by 25% of respondents in the Philippines.
“Consumers are increasingly conscious about health and nutrition, leading them to look for natural, minimally-processed foods, and when it comes to their babies, they become even more discriminating— even if their choices come at a premium,” observes Jamieson.
PROTECTION, PRICE, COMFORT
When it comes to attributes in choosing the brand and type of diaper to buy for their babies, close to 6 in 10 (56%) of consumers in the Philippines identify skin protection/good for sensitive skin as their top consideration, followed by good price/value (41%) and good fit/comfort (37%).
THE TRUSTED ADVISERS
When it comes to advice about the best baby food /formula and diapers for their babies, new Filipino parents turn to TV advertising, recommendation from friend/family, and recommendation from baby health experts (Charts 2 and 3). However, recommendation from baby health expert takes precedent overall sources of information in deciding which baby food to buy (Chart 4). When it comes to their decision in purchasing diapers, recommendation from friends/family wields the most influence while TV advertising also influenced purchase decisions followed closely by recommendations from baby health experts. (Chart 5).
“While recommendations from friends/family and experts and TV advertising outweigh all other sources of information as a trusted adviser and most influential in purchase decisions, we are seeing the emergence of online sources such as parenting websites and social media in the circle of trust of Filipino parents,” Jamieson comments.
Consumers of baby care products in the Philippines show greater preference to brick and mortar stores compared to online channels, with 35% of Filipino consumers saying that they have purchased baby diapers from a baby specialist store versus 12% who bought baby diapers online. When it comes to baby food, 32% claimed to have purchased from baby specialist stores compared to 9% who made online purchases.
“While Filipinos love the experience of shopping in brick and mortar stores, there are consumers who are shopping online because of the compelling proposition that it presents for busy parents,” states Jamieson. “They have the option to conveniently shop whenever, wherever they desire, often with free delivery to their front door.”
Chart 1. Age groups of children in households
Chart 2. Top 5 sources of information about which baby food to purchase for the first time
Chart 3. Top 5 sources of information about which diaper to purchase for the first time
Chart 4. Top 5 most influential sources of information in buying baby food
Chart 5. Top 5 most influential sources of information in buying diapers