Market research firm Mintel estimates that total sales grew at a CAGR of 19% from 2013 to 2018 and was worth ¥9.6bn ($1.4bn) in 2018.
Within the market, skin care is the largest segment, accounting for 60% of the market.
Bath and soap segment is the second largest, taking up 31% of the overall market, followed the hair segment which accounts for roughly 10%.
Protecting skin is a priority
Wenqi Zhou, research analyst at Mintel China, said about half of Chinese parents have had encounters with baby skin problems such as sensitive skin. This is motivating them to protecting their baby’s skin and are willing to pay a premium to do so.
According to the research, ‘solve skin problems’ and ‘contain ingredients that can benefit skin’ were the top two attributes that parents were willing to pay a premium for.
“The baby personal care sector is definitely a space where we see an upgrade in consumption habits. Parents are interested in and willing to pay a premium for baby personal care products with premium claims, specifically products that can solve skin problems or contain ingredients that can bring benefits to their babies’ skin. This indicates that parents are eager to deal with skin issues,” said Zhou.
However, consumers are wary of baby products that are unfamiliar, Zhou added.
“Keeping this in mind, baby personal care products should upgrade their attributes from merely providing cleanliness or moisturisation, to positioning them as skin care and protection for babies.”
Some of the most popular baby skin care brands include Johnson & Johnson and Pigeon.
Frog Prince, a local brand in China, is a popular among Chinese consumers living in the lower tier cities.
“This is due to their long history in the market and how they’ve established their brand associations with high product quality,” said Zhou
According to Mintel’s report, the market witnessed a large increase in the use of baby insect repellent. Of 3,000 consumers surveyed, 47% said they had been using baby insect repellent more often than last year.
“Baby insect repellent had the biggest increase in usage frequency in the past year, suggesting that parents are more willing to take their babies out and are using products to protect their babies’ skin. This gives brands an opportunity to create more usage occasions for baby personal care products, with the outdoors presenting an ideal starting point,” said Zhou.
Despite the Asian obsession with sun protection, baby suncare use is not as widespread.
Mintel’s research found that only 65% of consumers had used sun protection on their babies in the last year.
“Chinese parents tend to have the habit of simply avoiding going out when the sunlight is strong to protect their babies’ sensitive skin,” explained Zhou.
Zhou added that parents were sceptical of the safety of sunscreen, hence the low usage.
“They are concerned that suncare products will cause irritation to their baby’s skin. This has led to the low usage of baby suncare products among Chinese parents.”
However, Mintel research revealed that half of the parents surveyed are willing to try innovative baby suncare products.
“Parents are both interested and worried when it comes to baby suncare products. This signals an opportunity for brands to prove the safety and effectiveness of baby suncare products in order to create a market potential in China,” Zhou concluded.