We’ve heard all the talk in recent months of convenience and discounting being the new grocery retailing front line, with big box superstores losing their appeal and having to re-think their offer.
Baby & Kids is one of the categories in which this competition is probably at its keenest. Parents with babies and young children face the challenge of having to balance their working lives with child rearing, and the early years are tough, physically and financially, so the consumer appreciates any saving.
According to Which newborn babies use between six and 12 disposable nappies a day, which can add up to around £438 a year for a more expensive brand, using eight nappies a day. Babies are tough on the environment too. Which also say babies will typically use over 4,000 nappies before they are potty trained at around 24 months or older, and parts of each nappy will take over 200 years to decompose in landfill.
This is old news, of course. What’s changed for the latest generation of parents is that more women are working and resuming their careers as soon as possible after their babies arrive. Partners and grandparents are expected to step into the breach and take a bigger part in child rearing and buying essentials for the new baby.
They will come into their local store or order on line, and will be looking for familiar ‘signpost’ brands and promotions. During their visit they will also end up making secondary, additional purchases elsewhere in store, and are likely to be less choosy than if the mum were doing the shopping herself.
Disposable nappies, wipes, baby food and children’s OTC medicines are the classic baby and kids products that enjoy ‘distress purchase’ status in these circumstances. With traditional TV advertising not reaching the big audiences it used to, ‘baby’ brands that were big a generation ago continue to thrive. Huggies, Pampers and Calpol are among the evergreen brands with enduring high awareness. To break in, new baby care brands need a clear point of difference, and the ability to promote in store and online with major retailers. Mums talk to each other and compare notes about babies and child rearing, in the traditional form of social media, and places where parents go with toddlers continue to offer a way for brands to involve the consumer.
Meanwhile the duration of the buying decision – the critical few seconds spent choosing between products – tends to be longer for baby and kids items than for grocery lines.
So the point of purchase remains the primary place to engage with the baby and kids shopper, and needs to be made as appealing as possible.