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Business Growth 09 Apr 2015

Mother & Child care products’ market on an upswing

Growing at a CAGR of 15-20 per cent year-on-year, the lucrative mother and child care market in India has gained great exposure among organised and unorganised players. In fact, various international brands are also taking a plunge over this segment.

With India being home to about 50 million babies in the 0-2 years age group and 304.8 million children in the 0-12 years age group, the country offers immense opportunities to the segment players to tap this growing market, according to a report of RNCOS, an industry research and consultancy.

“India is a huge market even today and it has even bigger potential. Considering the increasing disposable income and increasing baby population, we see space for every brand in this category. The upcoming of more international brands will further help the market to grow,” said Rajesh Vohra, CEO, Chicco India.

Chicco is an Italian multi-specialist baby care brand, specializes in infant products and endeavours to give almost  everything babies need from cosmetics to toys, strollers and prams to clothes, pacifiers to highchair and car seats, to even natural feeding accessories and more.

Likewise, Jayati Singh, Business Head, Philips Mother & Child care noted, “If you look at this segment of market with all kind of products including apparel, diapers and all, it’s more than Rs 12,000 crore. Also, if you look at the product category, where we are present, is more than Rs 5,000 crore putting together organised and unorganized market. It is growing at 15-20 per cent year-on-year, which means that more and more people are getting recruited in this category and the spectrum is just growing.”

Consumption pattern
Foreseeing exponential growth in this space, leading retailers highlight the way consumers’ consumption pattern has evolved over the years. In a bid to lure customers, both emerging and leading retailers are offering innovative products to satisfy consumers’ needs and consumption behaviour.

“Parental care is an essential part of human nature. Parents, regardless of the level of wealth, always want to give the best to their children. Parents in India are very cautious while buying baby and child-specific products. Most consumers are willing to purchase popular brands, with high prices for its trustworthy quality. As most parents in India put quality before price and usually do not want to try out products with unknown standards on their children, so the less well-known brands or non-branded products in baby and mother care do not perform as good as the renowned brands in the category,” shared Aditya Aggarwal, Business Head - Mother & Child Care, UCL, a company known for Palmer’s skin care products brand.

He further mentioned, “Out of all the products that we offer in mother and baby care range, skin care product category has witnessed significant traction among the consumers. Consumers are very responsive to our cocoa butter stretch marks cream, skin therapy oil and baby butter which are a big hit among both expecting and new mothers.”

Similarly, Tisha Kapur Khurana, Executive Director, Bottega di LungaVita (OFI India) shared that in mother and child care products’ market, consumers’ consumption pattern also gets influenced by the changing trends with change in season. “The consumption pattern changes from season to season and it greatly depends upon the trends in the market, the ever-evolving lifestyle and the dynamic advancement of multiple product options,” noted Khurana.

Integrating innovation
Innovation is that tool, which helps in luring and convincing consumers to invest in certain product category. It helps in differentiating one product from other by highlighting its USP, which generally differs from one brand to another.

Commenting on the same, one of the leading market players of the mother and baby care product, usually recommended by most of the consumers – Johnsons & Johnsons said that they successfully made this legacy by best science practice, which derives innovation in every product offered by the brand.

“Our legacy is that every Johnson’s product is specially designed with baby in mind and meets our ‘Best for Baby standards’, which is backed by the best science. Now, we are taking our commitment one step further by showing the power of multi-sensorial experiences in daily rituals such as bath time,” said Ganesh Bangalore, General Manager - Marketing, Consumer Business, at Johnson & Johnson India.

As globally Johnson’s continues to build on its legacy, the company has earmarked millions of dollars over the next three years to advance this research and is working with external experts on studies to be published as early as this year.

Significantly, the brand has come up with a new global campaign, So Much More, which is about enhancing rituals, including bath time, to stimulate a baby’s senses and provide parents an opportunity to nurture the baby’s ability to learn, think, love and grow.

Likewise, Aggarwal shared, “As a brand, we are constantly working on product innovation and development to widen our range. Palmer’s is an international brand and is highly recommended by mothers all around the world. Palmer’s uses only the finest ingredients to provide consumers the highest quality formulas at prices that everyone can afford. All of our products are hand crafted based on Palmer’s long standing heritage and experience in offering superior formulations that deliver results. This is why Palmer’s promise to its consumers has always been an unconditional guarantee of quality.”

Countering challenges
With adequate growth potential and opportunities, the mother and child care market has some challenges too, which its potential players have faced and overcome it by countering them.

“High cost of real estate is one of the biggest challenges for any retail brand in India at this stage. Moreover, currency fluctuation is another challenge that an import-led company like us has to manage efficiently. However, we are prepared, our growth trajectory is encouraging in the last three years and we expect to be better in the coming years. We are closely monitoring the make in India initiatives and have plans in place to be a significant player in the baby categories in the years to come,” unveiled Vohra.

Similarly, Khurana shared, “The demand for organic and natural products in the mother and baby care segment is growing but is still at a nascent stage. Consumers who have the knowledge and understanding of organic products do not opt for other options. The challenge is to lure the consumers who are already using general products for mother and baby care towards organic and natural products. We are working on that aspect and have been quite successful so far and have managed to create fare amount of loyal customer base for Bottega di LungaVita products.”

New Entrants
As the category offers great opportunities to the existing players and retailers, it also opens avenue for new entrants to crawl in the Indian market to unleash potential of mother and childcare market. Some new entrants in the category shared their high hopes of reaping good revenue from this category of market.

Commenting on the same, Nehal Mehta, Director, House of Napius said, “We are all set to launch our brand in this ever growing and flourishing market to start with India. Napius is a first of its kind brand which creates electromagnetic radiation safe maternity wear. The collection comprises of the amalgamation of fashion and technology allowing us to keep up with our ever changing modern lifestyle while guaranteeing protection for your new born baby.”

Voicing the same, Chennai based new retailer S. Shriram, who is the founder of Smiling Baby retail store, said, “Baby Care retail is a very large market, dominated by unorganised players. Sooner than later, the big boys are going to drop over, however Indian Retailers understand the pulse of the customers better. Many of the Baby Care Stores, even in Modern Retail are family run or Entrepreneur driven, which gives a hold on the customers for the business, unlike in the case of professionally run companies, where “Managers and their teams” run the show without much ownership. We are building a solid foundation for our company at the moment and believe that the war chest is being built in a methodical manner.”

Meanwhile, Sahil Lamba, Director, French apparel and gifting brand Sucre d'Orge & Cie India admitted, “India has the biggest number of world’s population under the age group of 35 years, which mean many babies are on their way. We are the youngest population in the world and currently the middle class is growing very rapidly. The spending power of the people is increasing. The education in India in terms of number is increasing. Today, more and more people are educated compared to 20 years back. That is what makes the consumer advance and quality conscious. This is where we come in picture. At the moment, there is no other brand available in the market that thinks about the safety of the baby or is offering the gifting concept.”

Growing rage of E-commerce
As per the players dominating this niche, the market size for baby products in India is about Rs 15-25 billion, out of which, the estimated online market for baby product hovers around Rs 100-120 crore and experts opine that it tends to double every 6 to 8 months.

The online baby-care market comprises of segments such as baby food, skin care, toiletries/ diapers, toys, gears and baby nursery and the category has gained good consumer attention initially with the launch of dedicated online shops like Mom&Me, Firstcry.com, Hopscotch.in and many more.

Sharing views over the same, Supam Maheshwari, CEO & Founder, FirstCry.com said, “The online market is 5 per cent of the retail market and is likely to outpace organised retail especially in the baby and kids segment. We see a huge scope in the online segment in India. Parents have shown a great response to the online space and many prefer the omni-channel presence that we provide.”

He further noted, “Being Asia's largest online portal for baby and kids products, FirstCry.com has an inventory of more than 90,000 items from over 1,200 top International and Indian brands. We have grown more than 100 per cent in the last fiscal year and aim to continue the growth similarly.”

Likewise, Aditya Dhawan, CFO, Hopscotch.in said, “This category holds huge potential. Mothers are continuously looking for more and more options for their babies. And because this category doesn’t have enough offline options, discovery-based platforms like ours provide an extensive range of merchandise for mothers to choose from. We believe that as long as you are offering something fresh and exciting every day, they (mothers) will keep coming back and buying online.”

Currently, the market is flooding with online retail shops and offers big competition yet good growth.

Business roadmap ahead
Overall, the roadmap of mother and child care business shows a very promising and bright future ahead.

“If you also look at the overall eco-system, in this category of market, look at the number of speciality maternity clinics have come up, look at the number of other products related to baby care that have come up like stem cells, look at the mother child care portals that have come up. So if you look at the entire eco-system, there is a lot of growth opportunity. It is the factor of socio economic trends, urbanization and lesser number of kids which are contributing in the growth of the mother and child care market,” concluded Singh, Philips’ Business Head.

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