Estimated to be worth over US$15 billion in sales annually, the infant product sector in China is booming. According to the Victorian Government’s ‘Report for Infant Products Research’ , China’s rapidly growing urban middle class and large number of single child families are increasingly demanding high quality pregnancy, baby and infant products.
The report identifies strong opportunities for businesses to export infant food, wool products, baby care and educational products to Chinese consumers.
Catherine Cervasio, Managing Director of Victorian company Aromababy, has been retailing her gentle, natural, organic baby and pregnancy skincare products to the Chinese market for the past three years.
“Currently we sell to hospitals and local mid-upper end Chinese, mainly in Shanghai,” she said. “It is a very challenging market, but one that holds incredible opportunity.
Ms Cervasio says that the biggest of Aromababy’s challenges is positioning its products in a marketplace that has many locally produced lower priced and lower quality competitors.
“To more effectively position our products we are conducting quite targeted education campaigns with health professionals to ensure that our customers are an educated market who understand the difference between a ‘pseudo’ natural brand and a more ethical one,” she said.
“We are taking a more clinical approach to our marketing, and offering effective results, particularly for people who have problem or sensitive skin. This is a particular strength of our product, and we are continuing activity to promote and position ourselves as the market leader in serious, natural baby care.”
With a number of high profile safety scares associated with locally produced infant products, the report states that foreign goods are perceived to have stricter production controls than local products and are often more attractively advertised and packaged.
According to the report, safety concerns associated with Chinese made baby care products have led Australian products to be perceived as of high quality, natural and safe.
In addition, Chinese consumers recognise that product guarantees of “100% natural”, or “organic” ingredients on Australian products is truthful: a claim that cannot be matched by most other imported or local products. The report claims that this factor puts Australian products in a great position to satisfy consumers’ needs.