The baby care market is expanding like never before, thanks to the initiative being taken by increasing number of retail players in this regard. It is no more just the usual players like Johnson and Johnson or Huggies which have been offering baby products since long, but also new players like Lilliput (a popular kidswear retailer), Chicco, Mom and Me among others who are also joining the bandwagon in India.
While Chicco has recently entered the Indian market, Lilliput has also implied huge plans when it comes to making foray in the baby care market in the country. There was a time when shopping for a new-born was almost unheard thing in India as against today, the little ones not only seem to occupy the mind space of the largest FMCG brands/retailers but have also begun to occupy ‘shelf space’ in every mall and departmental store across India.
The growing market
It would be surprising these days to turn the idiot box on and not find tons of baby brands' commercials highlighting the benefits of certain baby hair oil, baby diaper brand, nappies brand, baby soap brand, baby shampoo brand, baby skin care brand or a potential baby food brand! Baby products are available all over the market, be it an exclusive baby store or online or pharma shops or the shop in shops in malls.
Parents are keen to give their child the best for his/her comfort and healthy growth and the market is booming with products to meet with the parents’ expectations and demands like never before! India has emerged as the most preferred market for the companies involved in baby care product manufacturing and marketing, says RNCOS report. The growing segment of population in the age group of 0-4 years in India provides the desired kick in comparison to other baby products’ markets worldwide. Several international players like Chicco (and many more to come) are planning to introduce specialized premium products in a bid to grab the market share from major chunk holders like Johnson & Johnson.
In a country like India, there is one core challenge which needs to be addressed. The Indian baby care market is restricted to majorly the urban areas. Despite accounting for majority sales, the urban areas are still yet to be fully penetrated when compared to other developed and developing markets in the Western countries. Thus, the area needs to be worked upon and this state of under-penetration needs to be overcome by the country.
The other challenges include areas like competition from cheaper substitutes, cultural aspects and regulations on ‘Infant Food Promotion’ which can play a key role in hindering the growth of this potential market in the country.
Sanjeev Narula, Managing Director, Lilliput Kidswear Ltd said, “Baby care market in India has experienced growth over the past few years due to changing consumer mindset and increasing penetration of baby care products. Rise in disposable income level, superior product availability and increasing awareness have significantly revolutionised the baby care products industry landscape. This compelled us to foray into the baby care industry with the launch of Lilliput Baby Care products”. The baby care range would be available in all Lilliput and Lilliput World Stores and soon in all leading baby shops, departmental stores and pharma chains.
Some of the popular Indian baby food and cereal brands include Nestle, Farex among others. We were keen to know about the kind of research that goes into introducing products in India as against abroad.
“A lot of market research goes in while introducing new products in the market. We introduce a product depending on the taste preference and keeping the price point in mind. When we are talking about PPP products (Popularly Positioned Products), we are talking about affordable products, we don’t mean low cost. Because when we develop products we make sure that the product has all the ingredients and nutritional value which is needed for the specific segment. We have infants, we have adults, and we have everyone. So, we develop products on PPP and that not necessarily is a cheap product,” opines Klaus Zimmermman, Nestle's R&D Head.
Thus, consumer buying behaviour, purchase pattern and food habits play a key role in deciding on the lines of introducing products/entering a target market.
In the coming years, innovation in products and marketing strategies will be the key focus areas for most of the companies operating in the Indian baby care market. It can also be very much expected that in future, penetrating deep into the urban market in conjunction with the rural market will provide exciting growth opportunities to the potential industry players.
The main drivers for the baby care market in India, will however, remain to be the rise in investments from companies, the towering demand and the increasing working women population (apart from the factors discussed above) which will set the pace for this industry in India in the coming years.