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By: Sara Mason
Posted: August 5, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Baby care is among the categories expected to show the highest levels of growth in the years ahead, but not just any old lotion will do. A significant rise in demand for natural and organic baby care products persists, as well as a continuing trend toward prestige and premium baby care products. This is highlighted by the fact that baby body care is now featured in prestige retail outlets such as Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus, while The Body Shop and Sephora are also increasing their offerings.
To encourage success in a market filled with niche opportunities for smaller players and new ground for larger players, marketers must continue to stimulate sales and increase brand awareness and loyalty campaigns.
Products specifically geared toward young skin need to be formulated with care—using safe, gentle ingredients and delivery systems. Baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and vulnerable and, therefore, more prone to irritants and allergic skin problems. The depth of baby’s thin scalp specifically means it may absorb more of the chemicals present in hair care products than adults. Consumers are increasingly aware that conventional shampoos often contain ingredients such as the surfactants sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate, which have been linked to the development of allergies, including asthma. The presence of excessive levels of salt, used as a thickening agent in many products, has also been a concern for health-conscience consumers.
Negative media coverage of certain chemical ingredients such as phthalates and parabens, which have been linked to carcinogenic effects, has encouraged consumers to search the shelves for products that use alternatives as well.
The current market is more about helping parents feel good about their product choices. New parents, in particular, are willing to pay a bit more for skin care for their baby. Real or perceived greater long-term health benefits and fewer side effects touted by pure products is a big relief for moms. These products may be pricier at retail, but consumers are purchasing more than product in these expenditures. “Product trust is worth a lot,” explained Motherlove founder Kathryn Higgins.