The baby-care market in the U.S. — which reached $600 million in 2017, according to Kline & Co. data — is undergoing a seismic shift. For starters, the key players have changed. While Johnson & Johnson retains three-fifths of the market share with Johnson’s Baby and Aveeno, Unilever has edged into third position following private-label brands, thanks to the launch of Baby Dove and its acquisition of Sundial Brands, per Kline & Co. Market trends are following what is happening in the facial skin-care category — demand for clean formulations, fragrance-free products and segmentation by skin type, is on the rise. The channel breakdown is shifting too — 20 percent of U.S. baby-care products are sold online, according to TABS Analytics, which is 10 times higher than the online share across all consumer packaged goods categories. Launching baby care is now considered a gateway into e-commerce for established personal-care brands, says a recent Mintel report. As a result, a slew of new brands and products have launched in the past year, fragmenting the market and driving category growth. Kline & Co. predicts a compounded annual growth rate of 2.1 percent in baby care over the next five years, driven primarily by naturals.
Here, a look at some of the latest launches expected to drive growth in the category.
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An organic brand founded by a former Alex and Ani exec, Made Of launched its line of baby skin care, diaper and cleaning products at Expo West in February. It is set to roll out by this summer on jet.com, amazon.com, walmart.com and its own e-commerce site. Made Of carries a range of personal-care products, from baby powder and sunscreen to hand soap and a combination baby-shampoo-body-wash. The brand was founded based on extensive consumer research, and Made Of’s point of differentiation is that each of its products have the same NSF organic certification. Radical transparency in baby care is more important than ever, especially following recent headline-making product recalls in the category, says Made Of co-founder Igor Bekker. “Consumers need consistency,” Bekker says. “We don’t use generic terms like ‘natural’ to mislead consumers into believing it’s something that it really isn’t.” Prices range from $11 to $14.
The brainchild of L’Oréal product development veteran Kate Solomon, eight-year-old nontoxic beauty and personal-care brand Babo was an early arrival to the natural baby-care boom, but demand for clean formulations in the category is fueling its current growth streak. Babo grew 65 percent year-over-year in 2017 after launching on ulta.com, and will roll out to all Whole Foods doors this year. Industry sources project $20 million in retail sales for 2018. Its latest launch is a range of fragrance-free products for baby, consisting of six stockkeeping units including a hydrating stick, diaper cream, shampoo and wash, foam wash for newborns, a daily lotion and healing ointment. “Fragrance-free is becoming an even greater category, as mothers are looking for products without allergens,” says Solomon. Prices range from $9.95 to $19.95.
Mustela is no stranger to the U.S. market — it first launched here thirty years ago — but is quickly picking up steam thanks to strong sales in Amazon’s luxury beauty category and influencer-backed digital campaigns. The brand has seen high double-digit sales growth month-over month since September, says Mustela’s vice president of marketing in the U.S., Catherine D’Aragon. “The Millennials that started the influencer movement are all moms now — we’ve invested heavily in that,” says D’Aragon. “We kind of beautify the baby space — we’re talking to the mom as a woman, and not forgetting that part.” On the product side, the brand this year has relaunched its skin-care products under four separate ranges segmented by baby skin type — normal, dry, eczema-prone and very sensitive. Prices range from $3.49 to $26.
Johnson & Johnson quietly launched its new baby-care brand, Petite Planet, in February. The brand is currently sold in Buy Buy Baby stores and on the retailer’s web site and has a “free-from” positioning — it is formulated without parabens, phthalates and dyes. Five sku’s — including a shampoo and body wash, everyday body lotion, wind and weather cream, multipurpose healing balm and massage oil — are inspired by baby care rituals from around the world. Johnson & Johnson’s baby business has slowed in recent years due to competitive pressure from natural and naturally-positioned brands — total baby-care sales were $1.9 billion in 2017, down 4.2 percent from 2016, according to the company’s annual report.
Surfer-backed sun-care brand Sun Bum has branched into baby with its new Baby Bum line, which launched this year and is rolling out now to Target and Buy Buy Baby doors. The cruelty-free and nontoxic range consists of 12 stock-keeping-units, and extend beyond sun-care to include bubble bath, a coconut monoi balm, baby shampoo, lotions and diaper cream. “Our Sun Bum crew is getting older and having babies of their own,” said Sun Bum founder and president Tom Rinks, referring to his employees, many of whom are surfers. “There’s a lot of controversy [around ingredients] happening in the baby-care space, so we thought, ‘If it’s going on our own babies, why don’t we make it ourselves?” Rinks expects Baby Bum to become “a big part” of Sun Bum’s total business, but declined to discuss financials. Prices range from $3.99 to $13.99
Baby Dove’s 2017 launch drew $25 million in sales, according to Kline & Co. Its latest offering is personalized gifting, a service on Dove’s e-commerce site that allows two-packs of lotions and tip-to-toe washes to be personalized with a baby’s name on it. Pricing for a personalized two-pack starts at $24.99.