Just five years ago, and for many years before that, the baby diaper market was largely dominated by the activities of Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark (as well as SCA and Ontex in Europe and Unicharm in Japan), who offered the most premium product and dominated marketshare. While these giants continue to represent the majority of baby diapers sales, there is no doubt that they are being influenced by the many newcomers to the market. Earlier this year, K-C launched a diaper containing plant-based ingredients and the new Pampers Pure line contains premium cotton and other thoughtfully selected materials. These launches both cater to the needs of today’s millennial parents who favor ingredient transparency and safer materials, not just in their diapers, but in all the products they choose for their children, the same parents who are launching boutique baby diaper brands.
While the smaller brands don’t seem to be taking serious marketshare away from Huggies or Pampers, at least not yet, diaper industry experts note that the brands are paying attention and responding with new products and packaging. For instance, Huggies recognized the fact that dads are more involved in parenting than ever before when it incorporated a picture of a father and baby on the packaging for Special Delivery diapers.
In fact, connecting to parents continues to be the winning strategy of both small and large diaper brands. Brands like Honest and Hello Bello do this through the help of celebrity partnerships—Jessica Alba for Honest and Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell for Hello Bello. At the same time social media outlets like Instagram and Snapchat have proven effective ways to attract parents’ attention. In fact, many credit social media with creating an easier path to market for smaller, independent brands, who are looking to meet the changing needs of parents without obstacles like large marketing budgets and promotional campaigns.
Things are definitely changing in diapers.