Formula safety still a prime concern of Chinese mums

A Mintel study also highlights online versus offline preferences for buying particular products and the habits of more adventurous younger mums.

Formula safety still a prime concern of Chinese mums

CHINA - Product safety, especially for infant milk formula (IMF), remains the primary concern for Chinese mums after several safety scares involving domestic brands, according to Mintel’s Marketing to Mums, China study.

Overseas IMF brands are largely favoured by Chinese mums, who are also more inclined to shop for IMF and diapers at offline stores such as specialised mum and babycare stores due to concerns over product authenticity. 

Hence, the report cautions IMF and diaper brands against moving the majority of their business and marketing online. Brands could however catch on the live-streaming trend and use this approach to deliver transparency and ease consumers' anxities. 

On the other hand, the study finds that Chinese mums have no qualms about shopping for strollers, toys, books and clothes at domestic online sites. Convenience and value-for-money triumph over product safety in the purchase of those items.

The study was based on 3,000 Chinese mums aged 23 to 39 from from four tier-one cities, six tier-two cities and three tier-three cities. In a further breakdown, those who are aged 23 to 29 are categorised as "younger mums".

They are more educated but have limited spending power (personal income less than RMB 5,000 a month). Therefore, they are more experimental with their purchase and less likely to rely on foreign brands. Local brands can tap into this segment by offering safe and high quality products. Also, given their relative inexperience, younger mums tend to look to celebrity mums and salespersons for advice. The report suggests influencers can play a big role in marketing to mothers from this age group.

In comparison, the higher spending power of older mums endows them with more flexibility to shop at offline stores, and they tend to have more role models among their peers. 

Two-child policy

As more families may start to have more than one child following the implementation of the two-child policy in China early last year, brands should follow suit to alter their strategy to reflect this changing family trend. The report cites an Ikea ad that features a girl cooking alongside her little brother as an example, saying that such a move could resonate positively among consumers.

Moreover, grandparents are expected to play a bigger role within expanded families. Brands are urged to acknowledge their importance and form an alliance with them. 

On a further note, Western influence has lost its appeal among Chinese mums. The use of Western celebrities in advertisements may not achieve the same effect for brands as before, the report says.

 

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