At present, Chinese consumers of maternal and infant have more diversified and cutting-edge consumer concepts and needs, with a population of 10.62 million newborns and 300 million women of childbearing age in 2021. For international maternal and infant brands, China’s maternal and infant market has huge potential.
1. Overview of China’s maternal and infant market
In China’s maternal and infant market, the market can be divided into large cities (e.g. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou) and small cities (vast towns and rural areas) based on income, purchasing power and consumption levels. Brands need to position themselves according to the different markets.
1.1 Maternal and infant market in small cities in China
Residents of China’s smaller cities and rural areas make up about 70% of the country’s total population. These consumers are beginning to have a strong desire and demand for high quality, new branded products. Growing demand for Maternal and infant products is focused on: pacifiers, baby food, body care, diapers, etc.
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1.2 Maternal and infant market in big cities in China
Consumers in China’s tier cities have a higher demand for maternal and infant products. In addition to baby milk and diapers, products such as baby supplement, safety seats, touch oils, educational toys, baby massage, organic food, as well as female pregnancy cream and female body care are very hot sellers.
2. Online Marketing for China’s Maternal and Infant care Market
With the development of mobile internet, the increase of maternal and infant brands and the change of consumer shopping habits, and the impact of the epidemic, the maternal and infant population has started to shift to online consumption. 33.8% of maternal and infant online consumption in 2021 and it is expected that, in 2025, China’s maternal and infant online consumption scale will reach 39.0%.
Chinese consumers are very concerned about the safety of maternal and infant products, and when looking for products, consumers pay close attention to product reputation. Therefore, social media, especially sharing social media, is a territory where brands need to focus their efforts to do well. Below, we introduce the most important social platforms for maternal and infant products in the Chinese market.
2.1 Little Red Book
In China, when it comes to apps for women to gather, the No.1 is Little Red Book. Little Red Book is the hottest recommending and sharing platform in China, gathering a large number of young female users with high spending power and strong consumption desire, and a large number of women living in big cities, who are the main consumer group of maternal and infant products.
Little Red Book attaches great importance to maternal and infant products, and the content posted on the platform by “baby mothers” is also supported by the platform’s traffic. Brands can make use of its precise pushing mechanism and huge potential consumer groups for efficient marketing, such as finding KOLs/KOCs, live streaming with goods, participating in women’s issues, reviewing maternal and infant products, sharing parenting experience, sharing pregnancy experience and other topics.
In addition, brands on Little Red Book can establish their own accounts and stores, observe market trends and traffic data in time, and catch consumers’ needs at the first time.
WeChat is the largest social media in China, and its monthly activity has exceeded 1.1 billion people, with 90 million maternal and infant users using WeChat. WeChat is also an important comprehensive position for chinese parents to get information, social sharing, planting and purchasing. The sharing of information in parenting groups is a very Chinese information exchange channel for mothers and babies.
Creating a WeChat Official Account is an inevitable step for companies to enter the Chinese market. Brands can use WeChat Official Account to publish various contents, activities and communicate with customers, tell brand stories and popularize maternal and infant knowledge. And such articles and videos are easy to spread within the WeChat ecosystem. The multiple and repetitive presentation will help brands strengthen users’ awareness and trust.
2.3 TikTok (DouYin）
In China, the hottest way of e-marketing is live streaming! DouYin short video is an important channel for young parents to get information way. On the content of DouYin short video platform, mother and baby products such as milk powder, diapers and wet wipes have a very high proportion.
In addition to short videos created by brands and soft ads released by KOL, live streaming is in full swing in DouYin. The format of “celebrities and KOL + professional interpretation + promotion” makes maternal and infant products often achieve high conversion rates in live streaming.
3. How to sell maternal and infant products in the Chinese market ?
In China, offline maternal and infant stores and supermarkets are also important sales channels for maternal and infant products.
3.1 Distributors (offline/online distributors)
For brands that are new to China and do not yet know the market, it is a good option to grant full rights to a distributor in China. This is because distributors generally have their own more mature sales channels. And for offline sales, a good distributor can use its original sales network to quickly spread the goods to the end market and buy time for the brand to occupy more market share.
3.2 Tmall flagship store (online shopping platform)
Tmall is the online mall of Alibaba Group; Tmall International is the online import retail platform of Alibaba, which provides overseas original imported goods directly to Chinese consumers. It is characterized by offering 100% genuine goods and 7-day no-reason returns. Chinese consumers have a high level of trust in Tmall.
For maternal and infant brands, the most suitable selling model is to establish their own official flagship store on the Tmall platform. After the brand has been audited and paid the corresponding fees, it can have a store in Tmall, which is controlled by the brand to build, manage and operate the store.
Tmall Self-Employmed (Online Shopping Platform) : Tmall Self-Employmed is a good choice for maternal and infant brands that want to sell their products in China. Tmall Self-Employmed is equivalent to an online supermarket, where brands sell their goods directly to Tmall, which is then solely responsible for sales and service.
3.3 Jingdong (online shopping platform)
Jingdong International is a brand belonging to Jingdong Group, which focuses on cross-border imported goods business and has won a very high reputation among Chinese consumers for its efficient logistics.
Jingdong Self-Employment (e-commerce platform) : Jingdong Self-Employed buys goods from maternal and infant brand manufacturers uniformly and sells them on the shelves, and the brand can enjoy the logistics and after-sales service of Jingdong Self-Employed.
Brand flagship store (e-commerce platform): Brands pay a fee to open a store on Jingdong’s platform, and Jingdong is not involved in specific operations except for managing merchants and customer services (refunds, complaints, etc.).
4. China’s maternal and baby market: opportunity and growth potential
China’s maternal and infant market size is huge and consumers are highly receptive to high-end international maternal and infant brands, which provides a wide market space for international mid-to-high end maternal and infant brands with brand advantages.
In order to get close to Chinese consumers, international brands need to fully understand the consumption habits of Chinese consumers and set up good marketing strategies, and only by doing so can they successfully take their brands to the Chinese market.