With millennials now becoming parents, China's maternal and child market is embracing consumption upgrades, and a subcategory－the mother and child personal care sector－is rapidly growing to scale.
Mother and infant personal care products include face washes, face creams, sunscreens, body washes, shampoos, haircare essential oils and other products specially designed for mothers and babies.
Thanks to the development of e-commerce and category innovation, China's maternal and infant personal care market has been growing steadily in recent years.
"Due to increasing requirements of parents regarding safety and functionality of maternal and infant toiletries, related product categories have been continuously enriched. At the same time, thanks to incremental demand brought by the outbreak of online traffic, as well as the rise of per-customer transactions under the consumption upgrade background, the sector is likely to constantly expand," said a report from marketing service firm Shanghai Ourui Supply Chain Management Co Ltd.
According to Shanghai Ourui, by 2025, China's mother and infant personal care sector is expected to reach 50 billion yuan ($7.5 billion), and the sector's compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2025 will be around 11.1 percent.
In 2020, the country's maternal and infant toiletries market totaled 28.4 billion yuan, up 10 percent year-on-year. Between 2016 and 2020, the market had been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 percent, said the report.
Liu Zijing, a mom with a nine-year-old girl in Beijing, said that she spends 400-500 yuan on average for her child's own personal care products every month.
"She has her children-exclusive shampoo and body wash. Recently, she asked me to buy her face wash. And she is typically fond of the scent of the toiletries. Apple and strawberry aromas are her favorite. She said that using these children-exclusive personal care products makes her feel like a little princess," Liu said.
Analysis from Tmall Innovation Center showed that with consumption upgrades, mother and child toiletries with natural ingredients satisfy personalized needs, and are proving to be increasingly popular among consumers. Young moms and dads care more about the function of toiletries. In addition to the basic functions, products featuring soothing and moisturizing effects, silicone-free ingredients and tear-free functionality are more welcome.
Burdock Biotechnology Co Ltd, a homegrown company specializing in herbal-based mother and child personal care products, saw sales grow 30 percent year-on-year in April. Its burdock-based, non-additive baby skin cream received significant favorable feedback on lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu.
Chen Qiang, president of the company, said: "With consumption upgrade, parents are pursuing high-quality, attractive infant and child toiletries with natural, standardized ingredients. Furthermore, with the rise of the guochao trend or the Chinese cultural tide, homegrown brands are gaining acceptance among consumers, especially among young moms, giving us more opportunities to develop our business. Plus, with the help of social networks and e-commerce platforms, there are vast opportunities."
And enterprises are taking action. Winona Baby, a child-exclusive sub-brand founded by Kunming-based biopharmaceutical company Botanee Group Co Ltd, has been cooperating with hospitals and doctors, selling their baby personal care products via over-the-counter channels and nursing centers.
Currently, the product portfolio of Winona Baby contains goods aimed at youngsters from birth to two, and another series of products for children two to 12 years of age. In the early stage, the sub-brand mainly focused on reputation accumulation. Such targeted products now serve as powerful new growth engines for the company, said a report from Guosen Securities.
Likewise, United States-based natural skincare brand Aveeno is working with Chinese digital healthcare platform DXY, using popular science livestreaming broadcasts to reach consumers and attract traffic.
"I am confident that given the great market potential, and with companies committed to improving their products, maternal and infant toiletry brands in China will develop better and better, further satisfying parents' refined demands," Chen from Burdock Biotechnology said.