Baby Food and Babycare Supplies: U.S. Market Trends

Feb 7, 2013
216 Pages - Pub ID: LA4873737
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The last place parents cut spending is on their kids, but economic troubles, resulting birth rate declines, and other factors have caused sales of baby food and babycare supplies to decline over the last five years. The two categories represent a combined $11.5 billion retail market, with sales equally split between the two.

Retail sales of the baby food category, including both infant formula and prepared baby food, were $5.7 billion in 2012, declining by a CAGR of 2.5% since 2008. Sales were hammered by the recession and continued to suffer as lingering economic difficulties resulted in declining birth rates and reduced spending by consumers. Further depressing sales has been an increase in breastfeeding, as well as feeding infants and toddlers what the family eats. Other factors contributing to the sales decline include health and safety concerns over formula in particular, which accounts for over 70% of category sales.

Retail sales of the babycare supplies category, consisting of the diapers, wipes, and baby personal care segments, were $5.8 billion in 2012. The category declined by a CAGR of 1.3% between 2008 and 2012. Eroding sales of diapers, over 60% of the category, drove overall sales declines, due to the same economic factors affecting baby food. Wipes and baby personal care products, much less expensive for consumers than diapers, actually experienced sales growth during the period, but at sluggish rates.

This updated Baby Food and Babycare Supplies: U.S. Market Trends report projects that times will continue to be tough for the largest segments of the baby market. Infant formula and diapers will continue to struggle and decline since they are highly dependent on birth rates, and represent a large household expenditure for struggling families. Sales of prepared baby food, wipes and baby personal care are expected to grow at slow rates. Premium-priced products will help drive growth for prepared baby food and baby personal care, while wipes will benefit from their germ-fighting properties.

The baby food and babycare supplies market is highly concentrated with the majority of sales coming from a few marketers. Nestle/Gerber, Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Nutrition control nearly 90% of the baby food category. Gerber is dominant in prepared baby food, while Abbott and Mead are dominant in infant formula. Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble control 65% of the babycare supplies category dollar sales due to their strength in diapers and wipes. Johnson & Johnson controls half of the smaller baby personal care segment.

The overall market presents huge challenges and opportunities for both marketers and retailers. Parents of infants must buy certain baby products, but they increasingly are buying less, and looking for the best deals on high ticket diapers and infant formula. Larger marketers are entrenched in the market, making it challenging for smaller marketers to compete and succeed. Yet many have done so by innovating and targeting product and marketing efforts.

Scope of Report

This report presents a detailed analysis of the U.S. baby food and babycare supplies market. The baby food category includes infant formula and prepared baby food product segments. The babycare supplies category consists of diaper, wipes and baby personal care segments. The report outlines key issues and trends affecting the overall market, each category and segment. It also discusses major as well as smaller innovative players and brands, analyzing their performance in terms of sales and market share. Market size data are provided for 2008–2012 and projections for 2012–2017. All retail channels that sell baby food and babycare supplies are covered and considered in arriving at overall market size estimates, market trends and competitive analysis.


The information in this report was obtained from both primary and secondary research. Primary research included consultation with industry sources and on-site examinations of the retail sector. Secondary research entailed gathering data from relevant trade, business and government sources, as well as company promotional literature and annual reports.

Our estimates of market size and company performance are based on reported revenues of product manufacturers and retailers; SymphonyIRI Group’s InfoScan Review data, which tracks sales in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers other than Walmart; and figures from other market research sources.

Our analysis of consumer trends primarily relies on cross-tabulations of data compiled by Experian Simmons, New York, NY. On an ongoing basis, Experian Simmons conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population. The 2004 through 2012 surveys cited in this report are based on samples of approximately 25,000 U.S. adults.

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