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Big Potential in Tiny Consumers

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: August 3, 2010, from the August 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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As a consequence of this careful attitude regarding the products parents are willing to use on their children, private label baby care did not experience anywhere near the same level of discounting as the overall adult beauty market. For many parents, the most important factor in baby care remains the quality of the product or reputation of the brand rather than price. The share of private label remained at just under 4% globally in 2009, unchanged from 2008 despite far more difficult economic circumstances globally, according to Euromonitor International.

Baby Toiletries Dominate Category Sales

The star performers globally were baby hair care and baby toiletries, both of which outperformed their 2008 growth rates—the former achieving 9% global value growth in 2009, an improvement of two percentage points on the previous year. Sales of baby toiletries, in particular, are also being boosted by female consumers increasingly opting to buy baby care products instead of adult products because they are seen as milder than normal body care products, and are also often less expensive.

Sun Care Sales Remain Buoyant Across Regions

Baby sun care was the only category to experience consistent growth in 2009, registering 5% globally—but, more importantly, it achieved a 4% increase in North America, proving to be one of the more resilient categories to the recession in mature regions. Demand for baby care products is being driven by greater awareness of the damage caused by unprotected sun exposure. The health care community and sun care manufacturers have educated parents regarding the fact that protection from the sun is a year-round and lifetime necessity, and not just for sunbathers at the beach. Many parents now take notice of dermatologists’ claims that people receive as much as 80% of their lifetime sun exposure by the age of 18. As a result of these health fears, demand for baby and child-specific sun care products has risen in recent years. Parents tend to rely on familiar brand names for child sun protection, and, as a result, Beiersdorf’s Nivea is the world’s leading brand in the category.

Major Beauty Players Focus on Baby Care

Avon has signalled its intention to focus on the baby care category by acquiring Tiny Tillia in April 2010, a child-specific personal care company that is present primarily in the U.S. market. In keeping with the trend toward natural and organically positioned products in baby care, the range is paraben-free and errs toward the premium end of the price scale, costing around $12 for a bottle of bath additive.

Beauty specialist Sephora launched The Healthy Baby Collection (May 2010), produced by Lavanila Laboratories, which is marketed as being a collection of chemical-free, vitamin-enriched, infant-safe formulas. The range is the only baby care line currently stocked by the retailer that focuses primarily on the adult female consumer base.

Outlook Good, but Category Remains Niche … So Far