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7 minute read | September 2015

Good nutritional value and safe processing are the two main criteria when buying baby food

Goods for babies are bought by consumers worldwide in traditional stores rather than online, but that is changing

Budapest, September 8, 2015 – More and more baby food and baby care products are being sold in our retail trade, and the expansion of demand is in line with the favorable international trends. In Hungary, the turnover of baby food stores increased by 12 percent between December and July, compared to the previous similar period. For diapers and baby wipes, the Nielsen Retail Index also saw an increase in both value and volume in the first half of this year compared to the first six months of last year.  

Nielsen estimates that world retail sales of baby food and formula will sell for nearly $ 30 billion in 2015. And the global diaper market is expected to exceed $ 29 billion. This offers huge opportunities for manufacturers and traders alike.

Double-digit increases in baby food in Hungary

The annual market for baby food in Hungary is about HUF 10 billion. Wet baby food accounts for almost 60 percent of this. Their store turnover increased by 11 percent in terms of value and 10 percent in terms of volume. compared to the previous similar period. The growth rate of dry baby foods, which represent about 40 percent, is 14 percent in value and 11 percent in volume.

If we look at the diaper, it is the third largest in the ranking of Nielsen’s seventy household chemical products and cosmetics in terms of turnover, with an annual market of HUF 18 billion. It is preceded only by detergent and toilet paper. Diaper sales grew 3 percent in value and 1 percent in volume in the first half of this year compared to January-June last year.

The annual domestic market for baby wipes is about HUF 5 billion. In-store sales also increased by 9 percent in value and volume, from the first half of last year to this year.

Thus, the total annual market for baby food and baby care products measured by Nielsen is about HUF 33 billion, according to the latest data.

Nutrition and safety are key to buying baby food

In order to understand consumers’ brand choices for baby food or baby care products, Nielsen has conducted research in sixty countries, including Hungary, among people who have purchased such a product in the past five years. The results provide important insights into the making of purchasing decisions and the online and offline sources of information that influence the purchasing process.

Worldwide, more than a third of those surveyed consider good nutritional value (37%) and safe ingredients and processing (36%) to be the most important factors when deciding which baby food to buy.

Then, in the second or third most important question, trust in the brand was mentioned by most, with 39 percent of respondents. Organic and natural ingredients also play an important role in purchasing decisions, especially in Europe and Asia / Oceania, with a mention of 31 percent.

Healthy, natural – especially for young children

“In general, consumers are paying more and more attention to health and looking for natural, minimally processed foods, which is especially true when it comes to their young children,” points out Liz Buchanan, Nielsen’s director of global professional services. “More and more parents are looking for food that will prepare their children for a healthy life. Even if you have to pay more for it. We expect this consumer segment to grow further if more parents can afford more expensive products in developed countries; Although the number of births is declining and the market for baby products is saturated, growth is expected mainly from innovations and premium products. Novelties will also be important in emerging markets, but more demand will become the real engine of growth.”

Today, 49 percent of the global baby food market is generated in Asia / Oceania, 27 percent in Europe and another 19 in North America. But Latin America and Africa / Middle East are growing faster than any other region.

In many developing countries, rapid urbanization, a growing middle class, and a rising proportion of working women are encouraging people to switch to a comfort-oriented lifestyle. This in turn increases the demand for pre-made baby food.

Great growth with pant diaper

For diapers, global retail sales are less concentrated than for baby food. More than half of the total turnover in diapers goes to North America and Europe (34% and 17%, respectively). In addition to Asia / Oceania, Latin America accounts for roughly one-fifth (23% and 21%, respectively).

The largest segment is pant diapers, which saw an increase in store sales of an average of 7 percent worldwide last year compared to the previous year.

Sales of deposit diapers, on the other hand, grew the most, by 20 percent. Despite its smaller suction effect than that of a diaper. Sales are primarily focused on Europe and Asia / Oceania.

Fierce competition of brands and prices

Although the retail of this product group is characterized by globally favorable trends, market players are faced with some challenges. The number of births on our planet fell by 45 percent between 1961 and 2013, according to the World Bank.

In addition, there is fierce competition in the baby products market between a number of manufacturers and branded products that are struggling for mothers ’attention at different prices. In addition, the purchasing power that can be spent on baby goods is relatively small.

“Despite the difficulties, the market for baby care products offers great opportunities,” emphasizes Liz Buchanan. – “Consumers are deeply involved in these categories and pay close attention to the products they buy for their children. And in order for someone to gain a competitive edge in this product range dominated by a few big brands, it is absolutely important to know how consumers choose an item. ”

Online shopping trends

Consumer goods are bought by consumers worldwide in traditional stores rather than online. However, this is changing as more and more people turn online with their general shopping intentions. E-merchants are also competitive in terms of price and convenience. After all, they have to invest little capital in the infrastructure to be built and may sometimes omit certain elements of the supply chain. In addition, they offer an attractive solution for very busy parents who can shop comfortably whenever and wherever they want, and the goods are often delivered free of charge to the front door of their apartment.

What baby products do consumers buy online? Globally, the majority of respondents mention toys (38%) and clothing (34%). Twenty-three percent say they have already bought diapers online and seventeen percent have bought baby food.

Asia / Oceania leads in online shopping, especially for diapers and baby food.


Nielsen’s global survey of baby food and baby care products was conducted from February 23 to March 13, 2015. More than 30,000 consumers using the Internet were surveyed in sixty countries; In addition to Europe, Asia and Oceania, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa.

The sample in each country is representative of the age and gender of Internet users, with a maximum error rate of plus or minus 0.6 percent. The survey only takes into account the consumption habits of those with Internet access. The proportion of people accessing the Internet varies from country to country. Nielsen conducts research only in countries where Internet penetration is at least 60 percent or at least 10 million people have Internet access.

In China, Nielsen surveyed 3,500 people using a special method to survey the consumer confidence index. Nielsen’s Global Omnibus Research was launched in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen (listed on the New York Stock Exchange as NLSN) is a global performance optimization company. It provides a complete picture of what consumers are watching (“Watch” business) and what they are buying (“Buy” business). Nielsen’s “Watch” division provides media and advertising customers with a total audience measurement service for all devices (video, audio, text) that consume content. Nielsen’s “Buy” division provides manufacturers and retailers of daily consumer goods with a unique, comprehensive view of retail performance in the sector. By integrating information from “Watch” and “Buy” research, as well as other data sources, Nielsen provides its customers with world-class measurement and analysis that further enhances their performance. Nielsen is present in more than 100 countries and thus covers 90 percent of the world’s population. Nielsen is listed on the U.S. list of financial services firm Standard & Poor’s, from which the U.S. stock index is calculated.