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Market Research


The Future of Chinese Baby Furniture

According to the BabyChina magazine


Compared with other countries, research shows that the Chinese baby furniture industry needs more development in many aspects. BabyChina magazine made a comparison study between 10 Chinese-made children's furniture brands and imported brands, concerning company size, brand, marketing approaches, price, design, product structure, quality and other aspects. The results show that Chinese brands are vulnerable both in terms of the product itself and market segments. Here are some manifestations:

Lack of Brand
Although baby furniture belongs to the baby market sector, it is still attributed to the furniture category. In the whole Chinese furniture market, baby furniture has a small market share, but faces fierce competition. Currently, foreign brands account for 33% of the China market; they are sold and manufactured by China’s 310 companies. While China-made baby furniture occupies 67% of market share, there are about 700 Chinese companies involved in baby furniture. However, only 27% among the 68% own a brand. The survey revealed that the remaining companies are in a state of non-brand competition.

In addition to big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, most domestic consumers are not seeking a brand in the purchase of children's furniture. Brand effectiveness remains to be seen and there is no company specializing in children's furniture which can dominate the market. Therefore, for today’s baby furniture products in China market, there is no obvious causal relationship between brand, price and quality.

Price Rationality
Currently, children’s furniture in China can be divided into two categories: solid wood and panel-type furniture. As long as the quality is good, domestic children’s furniture in these two categories will be no cheaper than adult furniture: panel-type furniture is around 4,000-8,000 yuan; solid wood furniture is over 10,000 yuan. While the price tag of high-end imported furniture is around 6,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan, and they are generally made of solid wood. After comparison, the price rationality of domestic children's furniture has been questioned. According to the survey, inexpensive Chinese children’s furniture is unsatisfactory in quality, workmanship and style, but high-class products are nearly 20% -25% more expensive than international ones of the same quality level.

Low Design Level
Over last year and this year, several major baby industry exhibitions have showcased baby furniture. It looks like a thriving sector on the surface, but when you take a closer view, most of the products are similar, the differences are not obvious. They share common features: a slight difference in look, but the built-in function is identical.

A lot of China’s baby furniture is overdone in color, which does not comply with the scientific applicable principles of color. Those products ignore the dangers of color, resulting in a bad influence on children's visual, neural and emotional development. What’s more, bright coatings often contain harmful elements, which is far from being safe.

In terms of design, they usually pay attention to styling, while ignore safety and convenience, such as the design of a ladder. And products are not scientific enough in nature, especially size and operating convenience fail to get careful consideration. Also, these companies do not take into consideration international trends, such as adjustable and convertible furniture.

Lack of Market Research
In China, there is no special design & research institution of baby furniture and training base for professionals. Related enterprises’ investment in the study of children's furniture is also inadequate. Few manufacturers spend effort and financial resources on studying baby’s living habits and needs for living space. There is no real effort to learn about family requirements, storage type and product quantity, as well as consumer behavior, purchasing influence factors and information channels etc. These all combine to affect the design, production, marketing, service quality of furniture products. Research on market demand and product users is the primary thing before developing products, while this is the most untapped area in the baby furniture industry.

In addition, there is no full-time children's furniture designer in China. Most designers turn to baby furniture design right from their experience in adult furniture.

Irrational Product Structure
So far, the product structure is irrational in China’s baby furniture market. In the majority, products are designed for children of 7-12 years old, 13 -16 years old, while products designed for 0-1 year old, 1-3 years old, 4-6 years old babies and small kids are fewer, resulting in an insufficient market segment and a narrower consumer choice.

However, baby furniture has emerged in non-baby furniture exhibitions in recent years. Product segmentation has apparently taken shape, indicating that the Chinese baby furniture market is getting mature. Research also finds that consumers’ demand for baby furniture has increased by 28% year on year, and the change is very significant. Survey results also predict an annual growth of about 10% -15% in terms of future market demand.

Need for change
All these data show that the babies and toddlers furniture industry of China needs to make changes – companies should research the market, in order to position their products and brands, and they should also differentiate themselves from the competition, offering a design more carefully and have a more efficient manufacturing that takes into account the needs of children at all stages of their growth. It is also essential to improve training and customer service, as well as to provide at the point of sale all the products necessary to furnish the kid’s room.

In short, more design, more value, more personality and better results.

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