The one-child policy has for decades resulted in babies in mainland China enjoying not only the undivided attention and resources of their parents, but also two sets of grandparents.
Recent health scares involving potentially harmful ingredients of baby foods and concerns over baby product-safety have led parents in China to purchase premium, higher quality products from overseas. The combination of these two phenomena has led to a predicted mother and baby products market of RMB 969 billion ($147.4 billion) by 2020 – second only to the United States. As an indicator, 70% of Chinese mums currently feed their babies organic infant milk formula.
Mothers in particular are a customer group that rely on surrounding community for advice and support. Parents rely heavily on WeChat groups for additional progress and health info – most parents are part of three WeChat groups or more.
As WeChat group sizes are typically restricted to 500 people, some groups are extremely in demand, and when one participant leaves the group, the vacancy is rapidly filled by another from the waiting list. Many groups also often include a “baby expert”, present to solve parent queries, and are often used to share educational WeChat push messages, product offers, deals and discounts. Because of the nature of peer contact within the group, there is a strong personal and emotional connection among group members, who regularly host offline activities and meet ups as well.
For relevant brands, these WeChat groups have the potential to be rich hunting ground for high-value target consumers, however the personal nature of the groups makes them both difficult to penetrate, as well as sceptical of direct brand influence.
Another, more direct alternative is to engage and collaborate with some of China’s burgeoning mother and baby platforms, many of which China have large, open and responsive communities.
Hot Pot Digital’s team lays out the leading players below:
育儿网 (Yu Er Wang / Ci123)
Ci123 acts as a source of information for the latest news, advice and tips on pregnancy and motherhood. It is also a platform for community engagement, through an active forum where parents can submit questions and discuss queries. The website has over 150 million registered users (on both mobile and PC), of which 80% are young Chinese mums.
BabyTree is a parents’ community that focuses on pregnancy and baby development. Set up by two doctors specialising in psychotherapy and sociology, the website provides a place for expert advice and community involvement in helping people through parenthood. Helpfully, forums are divided into different age groups and locations, so advice is customised to different child age groups and with targeted recommendations. The website has 1.6 million registered users.
母婴之家 (Mu Ying Zhi Jia)
Mu Ying Zhi Jia is an online retailer for all types of baby and child products. It specialises in imported products for higher-income families. For brands there are opportunities for promoted products, such as a Lucky Monday list where significant promotions and discounts are offered. Also, there is a dedicated members club.
下厨房 (Xia Chu Fang)
Xia Chu Fang is specifically a recipe-sharing community. It boasts 20 million monthly-active users and more than 485,000 user-generated recipes. Although not specifically aimed at mothers and babies, it receives a huge amount of traffic from this audience consumer group due to the focus on producing healthy food with high nutritional content. An important app in the new mother’s digital world.
Hot Pot Digital advises leading consumer, premium and FMCG brands on digital strategies for the Chinese market.
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