I’m a bit obsessed with all things babies. Since having my son 20 months ago I have been immersed in a whole new world of baby products, a mega industry that I didn’t even know existed before those two blue lines.
There are gadgets and gizmos galore – things you didn’t even know you needed, from baby wipe warmers to orthodontic soothers and talking potties. In spite of all this what struck me about the ‘baby category’ is actually the lack of choice. With the news that Huggies is pulling UK nappy production (with the exception of pull-ups and little swimmers) there will be just one dominant nappy brand (Pampers) and a handful of challenger brands (Nature Babycare), along with own label. Take baby milk as an example: there are just 4 brands to choose from (no own label here) so you actually have more choice in baked beans that you do in baby milk! As such, competition is fierce and new Mums are an easy target. This is where ‘WOM’ comes into it’s own – you buy on recommendation here more than anywhere else. There are people dishing out advice on every corner, from midwives, doctors and grandparents to complete strangers (must be those ‘bump touchers’ again). Brands can be made (Annabel Karmel) or broken (Hipp Organic) by forums on Mumsnet, celebrity endorsement and bad reviews. Brands need to include parents (Dads too please) and to support parents (Cow and Gate careline, Bounty packs, Pampers Village) – anything created by a parent (Ella’s, Cheeky Wipes, Cuddledry) is always going to have a certain appeal as they have experienced the problems first hand and created valuable, real life solutions.
It’s not that we just want choice but we also want validation and for that we ask our ‘friends’…
Thanks to Lily Allen for the “Ewan The Dream Sheep” tip!
As you can see Finn is sleeping soundly.
Author: Claire Duggan, Business Development Manager