Looking at selling your brand of baby bottles in China? You might want to take a look at this post and understand more about the Chinese baby care market. According to recent research, baby bottle brands are doing extremely well on Chinese online marketplaces. In fact, many of the top-selling baby bottles in China are from foreign brands. However, counterfeiting is rampant and it can be a challenge for brands to protect their brands and their customers from them. In this post, we quickly introduce you to this market and its trends, we highlight the challenges you’ll meet and how to overcome them.
Why are Chinese parents spending so much money on infant products?
A new age parent is on the rise, with a strong focus on improving their quality of life and a growing trend toward health awareness.
One of the most important things for Chinese parents is to ensure that their children have a successful future. This means giving them every opportunity to excel in life, and part of this is investing in high-quality products and services from an early age. This includes everything from education to nutrition, and it’s no different when it comes to baby products.
Chinese Consumers (and parents) focus on 3 main points:
And with both the current lifestyle shift and concern for quality issues, Chinese consumers & future parents are ready to pay premium prices for convenience and safety.
The new 3-child policy to solve China’s aging problem + the growth of the online eCommerce market + 300 million active mobile internet users with under 12yo children mean an increasing demand for baby care products in other words a gold mine for companies.
Where do Chinese Parents purchase baby goods:
With baby products being one of the most popular purchases made on Social media and increasing mobile penetration in China, it’s no surprise that there will be an increased focus on social e-commerce. Here is a list of Chinese parents’ favorite social eCommerce apps.
- VIP Shop
What is Social eCommerce?
In China, social e-commerce means using social media platforms to buy and sell products and services. For example, a business might use WeChat to sell its products directly to customers, or a customer might use WeChat to buy products from a store.
Social e-commerce is becoming increasingly popular in China because it’s convenient and efficient. It allows businesses to reach a large number of potential customers, and it allows customers to easily find the products they’re looking for. Additionally, social media platforms are very interactive, so customers can ask questions and get help with their purchases. In 2020, QuestMobile showed a +13% YoY growth rate of time spent by Chinese parents on the internet.
When it comes to baby goods, Chinese parents are some of the biggest consumers of social e-commerce, reading online reviews and following many KOL/KOCs/Communities.
Baby Bottles Market Overview
The global Baby Bottles market size is expected to grow from USD 1557.7 million in 2020 to USD 2492.4 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% during 2021-2027.
A market on the rise, driven by an increasing number of working women and the rising acceptance of busy lifestyles and infant formula.
Milk bottle sub-category:
- Based on Tmall data, the 3-year compound growth rate is 14.6% (2017-2020) for milk bottles.
- The total category sales is 1.886 billion RMB in 2020.
- The category trend grows steadily, and it is a cash cow market.
- With an estimated compound growth rate of 10%, the total category sales will be 2.075 billion RMB in 2021 and will increase to about 2.7 billion RMB in the next three years.
Baby Bottles Products types:
- Glass bottles
- Plastic bottles: expected to reach $1.7B USD by 2026 with a CAGR of 4.3%
- Silicon bottles: expected CAGR of 4.5% up to 2026
- Metallic / Titanium bottles (new niche)
Market Leader in China
- Pigeon: In 2020, the Japanese baby product maker Pigeon launched a direct-to-consumer scheme in China to gain back an important segment it lost because of coronavirus travel restrictions. The brand benefits from the trust of Chinese consumers thanks to its intensive branding efforts and the market represent 60% of its operating profit. With the decreasing Offline sales, Pigeon hopes to achieve 60% of its china sales through online channels by 2022.
Other main market Competitors:
- Tommee Tippee
Domestic brands are also expanding fast in the market, while improving the quality of their products, being very competitive in terms of pricing, and developing their brand’s reputation. Three main strategies have led a number of local brands to have successfully established themselves in the market.
HEGEN: Popular Chinese Baby care and bottles brand:
- HEGEN entered the Chinese market in 2016 and opened a flagship store on Tmall.
- After more than 4 years of development, the sales of Hegen have exceeded 200 million RMB in Tmall in 2020.
- Hegen caters to the pursuit of innovative functions and fashion design by young Chinese parents. The brand image is positioned as the ‘Hermes in the milk bottle category’.
- HEGEN Tmall store
In matured and highly competitive market such as the Chinese one, product innovation will also be a key element of brand competitiveness. Can be put in relation to the rising trends of product personalization being a hit among millennials and the young generation.
Selling Baby Bottles and Babycares goods in China: Challenges
Not only you’ll have to deal with the competition, but also the extreme wariness of Chinese parents that is fueled by a well-alive counterfeits market.
Offline Counterfeit of baby care goods:
The Chinese government has a number of laws in place to protect parents from the sale of counterfeit baby goods. These laws include penalties for manufacturers and sellers of fake baby products, as well as requirements that all baby products be registered with the government.
In addition, the Chinese government operates a hotline parents can call to report any counterfeit baby products they may have encountered. This hotline allows the government to track down and shut down factories that produce these fake products. Not only do these regulations protect consumers, but they also are very welcome for legit brands that seek to protect themselves from these counterfeits.
Here are 3 cases of judgment for babycare counterfeit
- The Pinghu Administration for Market Regulation (AMR) of Zhejiang province inspected and confiscated 16 Hegen baby bottles from a store in response to an official complaint. The administrative enforcement authority imposed fines worth RMB$25,000 as the seller could not provide supplier qualification certificates or any proof regarding the legitimacy of its products
- In March 2020, police in Guangzhou tracked down and arrested two men who were falsifying production dates on milk powder product codes. The duo operated an underground factory where they worked with other employees to produce false information about the products’ origins as well as authenticity seals from four popular brands of baby formula that are widely available across China
- In October 2019, the Shanghai Police Department collaborated with police officers from Guangdong and Henan provinces to raid 18 production and distribution premises that were involved in an illegal supply chain for baby care products.
- The Joint Forces seized over 150,000 baby bottles and 200 million feeding bottle nipples with a retail value of 50 million RMB. 32 suspects were arrested for counterfeiting registered trademarks as well as selling illegal products
Babycare Counterfeits Goods Online:
In the first half of 2021, 12 million complainants submitted 51 thousand complaints about goods in relation to baby care. The fine was a hefty RMB$216,600. Locals AMRs also gave over 2 million RMB worth of compensation for consumers’ losses!
Here are some examples of cases:
- The Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court rejected the claims by an individual Mr.Hu in 2019 when he refused to accept his punishment decision made through Jiaxin AMR for selling illegal milk powder online on Taobao, leading him to be fined RMB427k! It was the first case of first internet administrative litigation for a seller refusing to pay his fine.
- In yet another instance, a Chinese man was recently arrested for selling infringing products through his online store. The Shanghai Jiading Court sentenced him to one year and three months imprisonment as well as fines worth 80 thousand RMB ($1300 USD) on charges that he sold counterfeit baby bottles alongside feeding bottle nipples carrying the Japanese brand “Pigeon/贝亲”
Whether it’s online or offline, Chinese parents are aware of counterfeits and due to their strong health, Chinese parents are now even more stringent about checking the authenticity of their products, primarily because they’re aware that there’s a thriving counterfeit industry. They spend double time making sure they are paying for the right product and not some shady/dangerous counterfeit or low-quality brands. It’s causing a distrust for new brands and new players in the baby bottles (babycare) market will have to invest heavily in building a strong reputation for their name.
Solutions to Counter Counterfeiting for Baby Bottles Producers?
Companies can not stop counterfeiting but there are ways they can limit its impact of it on their sales and reputation. Here are a few solutions that baby bottle producers can use to help combat counterfeiting:
- Protect their brands legally with trademarks and proper registration in China.
- Use unique and difficult-to-replicate designs for their baby bottles. This will make it more difficult for counterfeiters to produce fake bottles that look convincingly similar to the real thing.
- Use anti-counterfeiting features on their bottles, such as holograms or watermarks. This will help ensure that consumers can tell the difference between genuine and fake bottles.
- Have a tracking system in place that records the production details of each bottle, including time, date, and location. This will help identify any fraudulent bottles that may enter the supply chain.
- Strong branding and strong presence online and through official accounts on Chinese social media to secure their narrative.
Promoting Baby Bottles Brands in China (Control the Narrative)
Important to build a strong brand image & reputation, and put forward their official store or official resellers. Brand control will also be capitalized, to monitor online product information and make sure no fake reseller appears on some platform delivering wrong products.
If willing to operate domestically, foreign brands entering China with innovative baby care equipment, and patent applications for both core and auxiliary technology should be filed at the China Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
baby care brands in China need Baidu SEO because that’s the primary search engine used in China. While Google is popular worldwide, Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, so companies that want to reach Chinese consumers need to make sure they’re ranking well on Baidu.
By optimizing their websites for Baidu search engines, baby care brands in China can make sure that their content appears at the top of Chinese search results pages. This not only helps to attract more visitors to their websites but also helps to build brand awareness and trust among Chinese parents.
Chinese Social Media:
Chinese social media platforms offer brands a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers in a way that is more personal and interactive than traditional advertising. Platforms like WeChat and Weibo allow brands to build relationships with customers by providing engaging content, such as videos, images, and articles.
Furthermore, by using the official accounts features of Chinese social media, brands ensure that they set themselves apart from copy-cat and have full control over their storytelling – the concept is rather similar to buying all the domain names similar to your brand to make sure no one will use your brand notoriety, make money on your effort or discredit your brand by using shady business methods.
Here are some top Chinese Social media that baby bottle brands should consider:
- Wechat: A wechat official account is a great way to build a relationship with your customers and keep them updated on your latest products and promotions. It’s also a great way to collect feedback from your customers and learn what they like and don’t like about your products. With a wechat official account, a brand can provide valuable customer service, share parenting tips, and give users a chance to interact with the brand in a more personal way.
- Weibo: Weibo offers brands a high degree of engagement with users, as users can respond to posts directly and add comments. Additionally, Weibo’s search function makes it easy for users to discover new brands and products. Overall, Weibo is an excellent platform for attracting Chinese parents who are looking for information on babycare products and trends.
- Xiaohongshu: Babycare brands in China should use Xiaohongshu marketing. Xiaohongshu is a social media platform popular with millennials, and it’s the perfect platform to reach parents-to-be with information about baby care products. The platform emphasizes product authenticity and word-of-mouth marketing. This makes it the perfect platform for babycare brands to connect with potential customers. Because of the trust that Xiaohongshu users have in the platform, they’re more likely to recommend products they’ve tried to their friends and family members. This makes it the perfect platform for reaching new customers through referrals.
Undercover Marketing & Peer Reviews through Forums & Kols
Many Chinese parents feel that babycare brands are more interested in making a profit than in providing high-quality products, and they’re often unwilling to trust brands even when there is proof of their safety and efficacy. So many baby care brands have to resort to undercover marketing tactics in order to get their products into the hands of Chinese parents through peer-to-peer reviews. Chanel like Baidu Zhidao and Zhihu is perfect for this. For more “official” peer reviews, collaborate with Kols and Koc.
- Zhihu Marketing in short: Share valuable insights and thoughts on your industry or niche, and position yourself as an expert in your field. This will help you attract new followers and potential customers. Use Zhihu to build relationships with potential customers: Take the time to connect with people who have interests or needs that align with your business, and provide them with valuable information and resources. By providing value upfront, you’ll make it more
- Baidu Zhidao: Make sure your brand is well represented on Baidu Zhidao by engaging in relevant discussions and providing valuable insights and solutions to other users’ questions. This will help increase the visibility of your brand and encourage others to trust your expertise. Additionally, you can use targeted advertising on Baidu Zhidao to reach more consumers interested in baby care products and services.
- Kols Marketing: Studies have shown younger parents are some of the most responsive to Kol and Koc marketing. KOLs are highly trusted by Chinese parents, who often turn to them for product recommendations. They can help build brand awareness and trust among consumers, and can also promote products through their social media channels. By collaborating with KOLs, brands can connect with China’s massive online population and drive sales growth in this important market. Work with Kols specialized in the field or that are susceptible to having an audience of young parents.
Chinese Online Channels to Sell Baby care and bottles in China
It’s important for babycare brands to sell on Chinese eCommerce platforms because the majority of parents in China are increasingly using online channels to make their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, just like strong online marketing, having an online flagship store, helps you protect the integrity of your brand.
Baby & Maternity specialized marketplace:
Most popular marketplace to buy baby care products in China:
- VIP Shop
With the topic of eCommerce being extremely vast, we invite you to have a look at our eCommerce guide for China. We list and describe the most popular Chinese eCommerce apps, their cost, their pros and cons, and registration requirements.