Baby Boom

July 31, 2007

Specialty products for little ones make giant steps in 2007.

A lot of juicy finds in the baby care market.
Baby Boom

Specialty products for little ones make giant steps in 2007.

Melissa Meisel
Associate Editor

The baby bump may have been the hottest accessory in Hollywood this past year, with celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes, Julia Roberts and Gwen Stefani bringing motherhood to the red carpet with panache. Following the celebrity baby boom is a treasure trove of upscale baby care products flooding the market, proving that parents are demanding only the best for their offspring. For baby products, overall unit prices are on the rise as value-added products and higher-priced organic and “natural” items drive value growth, according to personal care analyst Virginia Lee of Euromonitor International. Baby care sales are expected to grow 10% to $867 million by 2011, with forecast period sales driven by the sun care segment.

Baby skin care grew by 4% in 2006, to reach $228 million. Sales benefited from parents trading up to higher priced natural and organic items. Baby shampoo only recorded a 1% value increase in 2006 because many parents are using two-in-one baby washes/shampoo, as tracked by Euromonitor International.

The market growth correlates with the birth rate, which is expected to grow about 1% annually between 2006 and 2011, according to Euromonitor’s “Baby Care in the U.S.” report.

Unit prices rose in 2006, as consumers traded up to higher priced natural and organic products. Sales of premium baby care products represent only 5% of total sales of baby care products in the U.S.  Some product development and marketing activity targeting older children is also possible. Increasingly, children ages 4 to 11 years old will use cosmetics and toiletries designed specifically for them, rather than products designed for an entire family or for babies, said Ms. Lee of Euromonitor.

Sales of baby sun care products rose nearly 14% in 2006, as heightened concern over the harmful effects of sunburn created strong demand for sun care products, according to Euromonitor. Sun care sales also benefited from new formulations from Schering-Plough (Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50) and Hawaiian Tropic (Baby Faces Spray SPF 50). Baby sun care sales are projected to grow 16% between 2006 and 2011, as parents purchase more sun protection for their children. Manufacturers are expected to continue rolling out new sun care ideas for young children, and to market these products directly to their age group.

Older and Wiser

Euromonitor reports concur that parents trading up to premium priced items led to strong value growth for baby care in 2006. While birth rates have been pretty steady, Americans are now more willing to spend on higher priced, value-added baby care products. Ms. Lee attributed this trend to the fact that many women who have postponed childbirth until their 30s and 40s to pursue educational and career goals have more disposable income on average to spend on toiletries for their babies, having entered their prime earning years and/or having saved money in earlier years.

“Though small in number, the growing presence of affluent parents in their late 30s and early 40s has been a godsend to manufacturers, which can benefit from this group’s free-spending habits,” said Ms. Lee.

For example, angling the nostalgic influences of the Baby Boomer’s children, Luvs recently announced the launch of the “All You Need is Luvs” marketing campaign coinciding with the introduction of its new Bear Hug Stretch diaper feature. The Beatles song, “All You Need is Love,” will play an important role in the advertising campaign to “offer a fresh, new approach to keep the brand relevant and top-of-mind with mom as she seeks a diaper that offers premium leakage protection for less cost,” according to a statement from Procter & Gamble.

Natural ingredients are still going strong, as seen at VedaBaby.
In baby care products, consumers are seeking safety, security and quality, according to Lynn Dornblaser, director of the Custom Solutions Group of Mintel International. Consumers are also looking for sophisticated yet simple baby care products, said Cecilia Leibovitz, creator of the BabyBearShop 100% organic baby skin care collection.

Ms. Leibovitz’s line includes luxury items such as a “Cheeky Baby Butter” made from shea and essential oils  ($34) and an “All the Better to Kiss You With” baby lip balm ($5) flavored in lavender vanilla, chai mandarin or peppermint.

Ingredients are also a key factor in a baby product’s marketability, according to Dr. Natalie Geary, creator of the VedaBaby and VedaMama ayurvedic skin care collections: “I think consumers are looking for products that are reliable and affordable, however, if they knew that they were getting safer and healthy products for their kids they would be willing to spend a little bit more. Babies are a huge financial responsibility, but families are looking for ways to make affordable adjustments to their lifestyle to promote wellness—they read ingredient lists, they want to know a company’s story and commitment and most importantly they want to know if products are safe and reliable…having done their ‘homework,’ parents are now educated and informed about children’s products on the market.”

Geary, a New York, N.Y. pediatrician, created the vedaBaby and vedaMama lines to accommodate the market’s demand for natural ingredients. VedaBaby was created for kids with allergies and eczema; vedaMama was specifically formulated to pamper hormonally-challenged skin for moms-to-be. The products are 100% natural, free of animal- and petroleum-based ingredients, artificial dyes or fragrances and feature a variety of moisturizers, from vedaBaby’s “Baby Butts Plus” balm ($40) for little chapped fannies to vedaMama’s “Nuture” cream ($75) for breastfeeding that actually is safe enough for the baby to eat, so there is no need to wash off with harsh soaps before nursing.

In fact, Mom herself is a top consumer target in 2007’s spinoff collections to baby care. “We are so happy to finally see pregnancy being a celebrated part of a woman’s life —you can still be fashionable, gorgeous and pampered throughout your pregnancy.  We think this will continue to build,” said Tanya Mackay, co-founder of Mama Mio, a line of “deluxe pampering for supermamas” used by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Christy Turlington and Rachel Weisz. 

Mama Mio recently rolled out a Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter ($30) and will soon release its “You're Amazing! New Mama Kit” of beauty ($48) featuring the collection’s Super-Rich Body Cream, a cocktail of natural oils, butters, emollients and humectants to keep dry, post-pregnant skin hydrated. Ms. Mackay describes it as “the gift you would give her right after she has her baby.  A much more pampering and thoughtful gift...because, really, a girl can only enjoy so many flowers.”

Naturals & Organics

In tune with the global trend to go green, organic baby care SKUs are still going strong as the most significant trend in baby care products in recent years, according to Euromonitor.

“Increasingly, parents have shown confidence in products made with natural ingredients, assuming that such products are safer and healthier to use on their babies and small children. The new product characteristics are found in both mass and premium segments of the market, and were extended from the natural and aromatherapy products trends found in other cosmetics and toiletries,” said Ms. Lee.

Natural ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, lavender and cucumber are common in baby care, whether for their moisturizing benefits or relaxing properties, said Anna Wang, senior consultant for Kline & Company.

Pampering products for mom are also bing in 2007.
Ms. Wang points to higher-priced specialty brands such as Laboratories Expanscience’s Mustela and Burt’s Bees’ Baby Bee as examples, showing that consumers are willing to spend the extra money for quality baby care products.  And this trend will continue indefinitely in the market, according to Ms. Wang: “There will be increased use of natural and organic ingredients, since those are assumed to be more gentle and suitable for babies’ sensitive skin.”

The allure of natural ingredients can even make SKUs crossover from the adult realm to the baby’s nursery.  Palm Beach, FL aesthetician Tammy Fender’s collection of custom-blended organic skin care formulas include an Intensive Repair Balm – Chamomile & Helichysum ($130) that is now touted as a diaper balm with restorative qualities. It was initially designed for Ms. Fender’s post-op Baby Boomer clientele.

Soothing Senses

Some marketers are moving beyond the standard “baby powder” fragrance to utilize the benefits of aromatherapy.  For instance, aromatherapy company Aura Cacia recently added Aura Cacia Baby, a collection created especially for little ones with organic essential oils and other natural ingredients, to its repertoire. The new line offers products such as the certified organic Calming Baby Oil ($8.99), where non-greasy jojoba and sunflower oils deliver the benefits of lavender, chamomile and marjoram.

“Aura Cacia Baby offers healthy and gentle natural baby products that also provide calming aromatherapy benefits to help soothe both baby and parent,” said Mindy Seiffert, aromatherapy category manager for Aura Cacia. “The baby’s sensitive and vulnerable skin is cleansed, protected and nourished without worries about the laboratory-created chemicals and petroleum-derived mineral oil found in many baby products.”

Organic essential oils offer baby the benefit of aromatherapy.
The Thymes Sweetleaf Baby Collection, new for 2007 and favored by celebrity moms Mariska Hargitay and Courtney Cox, features a mild, organic blend of lavender and chamomile in its products to create a soft scent that is unique to its genre. Composed of aloe vera and vitamin E, the collection is dermatologist tested for mildness and formulated for sensitive skin—as seen by the  Sweetleaf Baby Wash & Shampoo ($15) that cleanses and also calms with organic lavender, chamomile and aloe vera, leaving baby bathed in a light, fresh scent.

“Consumers are looking for a product that is formulated for baby’s skin, has a great fragrance and consumers are much more savvy today about packaging,” said a spokeswoman for the collection, Adrienne Eckert of Skirt Public Relations.


Baby Line Born From Formulator’s Family

Susan Brown’s Baby, a line of luxury personal care products for baby and mom that debuted this spring, actually started when proprietor Susan Brown was a baby over 25 years ago.
    Jim, Susan’s father and a chemist is the founder of Floratech, a manufacturer and distributor of jojoba and other naturally-hydrating cosmetic ingredients. He would bring home his nourishing, natural oils for his wife and children.  
    Over the years, Susan has continued to use them on her own skin to keep it soft and luminous. Realizing that the beginnings of an incredible skin care line were sitting on her bathroom counter, Susan developed a plan to share these family treasures.  
    She partnered with former college roommate, Kimmy Hollar, and Floratech. With the company’s extensive ability to formulate and test cosmetic products, and a three-year timetable, a 17-piece collection of botanically-based products exclusively for baby and mom were born. Everyday baby treats include a Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30+ ($14),  Nourishing Lotion and Moisturizing Cleansing Cloths Travel Pack ($4.95) as well as out-of-the-box specialty items such as Foaming Shampoo & Body Wash ($10) and All Purpose Botanical Gelee ($15).
Baby blues, vivid yellows, gentle greens, bright pinks, warm orange and soft purple adorn the precious parcel in the Thymes Sweetleaf Baby Collection. Reminiscent of an enchanted woodland scene, the collection’s packaging comes complete with five “critters” who individually grace each carton to paint a storybook theme throughout the collection. 

After all, as with babies, good things come in small packages.
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