These consumers’ thirst for sophisticated products surprised many, if not all, of the world’s largest diaper manufacturers, forcing them to quickly change their strategies and revamp their product lines. At the same time, nonwovens producers, looking to serve these companies, have had to develop softer and loftier products to make diapers that feel better on babies’ skin.
What’s interesting about China is that, while there are reportedly hundreds of, if not more, local manufacturers making diapers there, it is the diapers that are made by multinational companies—based in North America, Europe or Japan—that are currently finding success there and there is probably not one local manufacturer even competing in the top tier Chinese diaper market.
However, there is some indication that this could change. For the first time, local diaper manufacturers are outpacing growth of multinationals in the mid-tier, according to industry analysts. This not only means that companies like K-C and P&G have to work harder than ever to maintain marketshare, but also that these local companies could soon woo consumers in the premium markets.
Also, as more Chinese consumers have more than one child—and the expense that comes with multiple children—maybe they won’t be as discerning when it comes to diaper quality and the mid-tier markets will dominate. Ask any mom of multiple children about how things like fancy diapers take a backseat to other priorities after the second or third kid comes along and you’ll soon understand how the private label market has done so well.
Speaking of private label markets, this month associate editor Tara Olivo takes a look at how innovation is booming in store-based diaper brands. Not only are the days the “no frills” aisle gone, but they are forgotten by many of the millennials buying diapers today. This has encouraged major retailers to create diapers—and other private label goods—that are as good or better than the national brand equivalent.