CBME China 2024

17-19 July 2024 | National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC), Shanghai, China

| EN

8 Promising Opportunities for the Maternity and Baby Industry in 2024

Leveraging insights extracted from the CBME Database, extensive visits to regional markets throughout the past year, and interviews with industry professionals, data analysts, and discerning consumers, we embark on a journey to encapsulate the evolving trends and dynamics within the maternity and baby industry. Join us as we navigate through the frost and explore strategies to thrive in the changing landscape.

1. Emotion Value Drives Business Growth

Emotional value is highly sought after by young people, and has become one of the keys to driving business growth in today’s retail market. This also applies to the maternity and baby retail industry, where products must transcend mere functionality to offer profound emotional connections.

Emotional value is a very broad concept.

For online retail channels, initiatives like a hassle-free 30-day return policy, coupled with the assurance of product destruction rather than resale, as well as enhanced efficiency of after-sales service resolutions, contribute to the satisfaction of customers’ emotional value.

Offline retail channels, too, can work on the emotional bonds with customers by providing instant retail services today, and by creating a third space, such as cafes, parent-child activities, or DIY kitchens, in maternal and baby stores.

2. Localized Parenting Revitalizes Offline Business

Data indicates that in recent years, instant retail has maintained an average annual growth rate of over 50%. In 2022, the market size reached 504.286 billion yuan, and it is estimated to triple by 2025. As a product of “retail + technology”, instant retail brings incremental value to local retail by creating new scenes and models through “digital reality integration.”

As for maternity and baby retail, consumers may have emergency like midnight breastfeeding shortages; convenient needs for large purchases; social scene demands for picnics, camping, parent-child socializing, and holidays… Instant retail, with the slogan of “everything can be delivered,” not only addresses consumers’ immediate pain points but also provides breakthrough ideas for “consumers not entering stores,” stabilizing the maternity and baby retail market to some extent.

3. Target All Family Members with Diversified Product Categories

Diversified product categories targeting all family members are showing growth potential in 2024.

While traditional products like children’s formula milk and nutrition products continue to thrive, a new demographic—the silver hair group—emerges as a promising market. The maternity and baby industry can tap into this market by exploring categories like formula milk and nutrition products for the elderly.

Additionally, household cleaning products represent a crucial avenue for innovation within maternal and baby stores. With precise targeting and channel alignment, these products align seamlessly with consumer preferences. Millennials and post-90s moms, as the primary consumer base in the maternity and baby sector, also wield significant influence as decision-makers in household cleaning products consumption.

 

4. Cotton Products Set to Rebound

For maternity and baby retailers, formula milk remains a cornerstone category, yet as brand concentration intensifies and profit margins narrow, diversification into secondary categories becomes imperative. Among these, cotton products are gaining prominence, with children’s clothing emerging as a notable extension of this concept.

In tandem with the evolution of consumer demographics and consumption trends, the cotton products market is undergoing a transformation, characterized by emerging consumption patterns. These trends can be distilled into five key concepts: scenario-based consumption, functionality and tech-styling, cost-effectiveness, aesthetics-oriented focus, and IP collaborations.

New markets unlock new opportunities. In the Top 10 category list, children’s cheongsam/tangzhuang/folk costumes claimed the second position with an impressive sales growth rate of 222.10%. Similarly, children’s outdoor clothing secured the third spot, growing by 217.31%.

5. Green and Eco-Friendly Parenting Gains Popularity

Xianyu has achieved remarkable milestones in the past year. During the 2023 Double 11 Shopping Festival, over 600,000 users engaged in group-buying transactions, while more than 10 million people explored group-buying items.

A noteworthy trend on Xianyu is the shift towards renting rather than purchasing. Upon launching the rental feature, the platform recorded over 20,000 orders within a week, with 68% of “renters, not buyers” being post-90s users. Particularly, children’s toys are one of the most popular rental categories.

In the maternity and baby industry, this trend underscores a burgeoning commitment to green and eco-conscious parenting, marking a departure from mere cost-saving endeavors towards more mindful and deliberate family expenditures. This transformation reflects an escalating demand for organic, green, and healthy eco-friendly products among parents.

6. Product Segmentation Expands

To meet increasingly diverse customer demands, segmentation by stages, ages, genders, and scenarios is expanding.

For child care brands, product offerings are maturely diverse. Take facial care for instance. Products span moisturizers, skincare creams, face creams, and lotions, each tailored to specific needs such as moisturizing, sensitivity prevention, soothing, and stability maintenance. Additionally, skincare for children over 3 years old can further be segmented by gender and age group.

Similarly, diaper offerings are segmented based on various criteria, including gender, age group, and specific needs such as diaper rash prevention, mosquito repellent, training, and sensitivity.

Nutritional segmentation has appeared as a striking trend as well, which presents a valuable opportunity for chain store employees to enhance product specialization, facilitating the evolution of nutritional products from structured stores to more diverse chain systems.

7. Mass-Selling Snack Stores Pave a New Path for Manufacturers

The rise of mass-selling snack stores is reshaping the snack market, , in sync with the consumer inclination towards cost-effective choices.

Different from traditional distribution channels, mass-selling snack companies often resort to a factory direct sales model. By leveraging mass purchasing and other strategies, they strive to minimize product prices while fostering user loyalty through competitive pricing.

According to a spokesperson from a snack food manufacturer interviewed by CBME, this is no longer the case. Previously, even OEM snack production yielded substantial profits. However, in light of the modest margins within the maternity and baby industry, manufacturers are now venturing into proprietary brands. This shift, driven by the need to explore new avenues for growth, showcases the evolving sales dynamics.

 

8. Consumer Stratification Becomes Evident

Consumption downgrade has become widely discussed nowadays, reflecting a certain macroeconomic background. However, amidst this phenomenon lies the concerning trend of consumer stratification— where top-tier consumers are more willing to choose reputable brands and accept high premiums; middle-tier consumers can accept limited (not exceeding 5%) premiums and pay attention to product upgrades; while the base-tier consumers prioritize cost-effectiveness, expecting product quality to exceed their cost.

The mindset of base-tier consumers undoubtedly dominates the market at the moment, as evidenced by the popularity of discount stores and mass-selling snack stores. These establishments directly cater to the preferences of mainstream consumers today.

In the maternity and baby industry, businesses are actively exploring strategies to accommodate this consumer stratification. Some maternal and baby players have already begun experimenting with the concept of boutique maternal and baby “outlet stores”.