Thanks to the rising demand from younger generation parents pursuing high-quality lifestyles amid the growing disposable income and education levels, the revenue from the maternal and baby market in China reached 2.7 trillion yuan in 2019. The two largest product segments that dominate the market are infant formula/food supplements and diapers. The lasting impact of Chinese baby formula contamination scandals back in 2008 has driven the international brand and premium quality infant food product demand. Despite government plans to increase the market share of local milk formula producers in China, imported formula products still took up more than half of the total baby formula sales as of 2018. Similarly, international brands such as Procter & Gamble, Kao, Kimberly-Clark, and Unicharm accounted for the majority of the baby diaper online market in China.
Increasing purchasing power has enabled Chinese parents to provide their children not only with daily necessities such as infant food, diapers, and clothing, but also high-quality nutrition supplements, hygiene products, and toys. Over the past few years, China’s baby personal care market has witnessed a notable development with a focus on new market segments such as baby skincare, bathing, and hair products.
As a result of a strong preference for international brands, e-commerce plays a prominent role in the maternity and childcare product market in China. In 2019, at least 20 percent of the market sales were done online, including cross-border e-commerce platforms. Surveyed parents revealed that online retail sources, along with social media channels such as WeChat, provided the most useful childcare product purchase recommendations and the largest product variety.
The age of growing living standards of the expanding middle class has already created a solid foundation for medium and high-end mother and child product markets in China. The steady rise of this industry is likely to continue over the next decade with a focus on high-quality, safe, ecological, and healthy products, increasing retail competition and opening significant business opportunities.