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Market Research


The Polish Baby Care Market


Polish Baby Care Market
by Marek Jankowski, “Branza Dziecieca”

Although most of European companies offer prams made in China, Polish companies still produce them in their own country. Some of them started from small family craft workshops over 50 years ago. Nowadays some of them try to put their products on foreign markets. In 2010, twenty-six exhibitors from Poland went to Cologne. It is three times more than from the rest of former communist countries.

Poland, with few dozen of prams’ manufacturers, is probably the biggest supplier in Europe. What is interesting, most of them are located in one city: Czestochowa – known all over the world for its icon of the Holy Virgin Mary in the Monastery of the Pauline Fathers.

What interesting could Polish companies show to the rest of the world? Let’s have a look. Among the Kind + Jugend exhibitors we have had seven companies offering furniture, seven with clothes and textiles and six showing prams, car safety seats and accessories. Most of these products were made in Poland. “For most of foreign visitors it is a big surprise. They can hardly believe that our colorful travel systems are manufactured in EU, just 160 kilometers from German border” — says Maciej Jagielski, managing director of Implast. His company had its own booth in Cologne for the first time. But other prams companies like Deltim, Aro Karon or Wampol return there year by year. The most recognizable — and one of the biggest Polish exhibitors in Cologne — is Deltim. They own three brands: X-lander, Delti and Navington (the last one has been launched at Kind + Jugend 2010). Their products are know in Western Europe thanks to local distributors, like Babystyle in UK or Basson Baby in Scandinavia. Deltim’s proprietors started their activity in the market of children’s articles in the 1950s. But, to be honest, we must say that now only a part of their production is manufactured in Poland.

Another big Polish company, that sells its products in 35 countries, is Canpol. The company started twenty years ago. Today they are the leader of baby accessories market in Poland, providing feeding, care, nursery, play and safety solutions. Their popular brand is Canpol Babies. Three years ago they launched Lovi, BPA-free, meant for more demanding parents. Their flagship is the first and only dynamic teat in Europe, which extends during feeding, which enables the infant active participation while suckling, as is the case while breast feeding. In 2008 Canpol was considered as third Polish strongest non-food brand by “Rzeczpospolita” newspaper.

Many has changed in Poland after the collapse of communism. In 1990s this country was a big question mark for foreign business partners. “It took almost two years, from 1993 to 1995, to convince the supplier so that they let sell us Maxi-Cosi. Today we belong to leading Dorel’s distributors, excluding countries where they have their own operating locations” — says Marek Waletko. He admits that Polish companies were well-known for not respecting payment deadlines. Fortunately, nowadays it looks better. What is more, due to economic crisis payment problems are no longer Polish specificity.

There are no reliable studies on baby care market in Poland. One can only say that it is very fragmented, with about 1000–1300 independent retailers. There is one big specialist chain Smyk, with 65 stores – some people call them “Poland's answer to Toys R Us”. They have also 7 stores in Ukraine, 4 in Russia, 3 in Turkey and one in Romania. In 2008 they took over German chain Spiele Max, with 41 stores. Smyk offers mainly toys, but also clothing and footwear of their own brand Cool Club and baby equipment: accessories, baby carriages, cribs and car seats. As well as accessories for breast-feeding moms and pregnant women.

In 1990s most of little shops were stocking up at warehouses. Nowadays most of producers and importers sells directly to retailers so most of wholesalers changed the business level, opened themselves to consumers and actually became retailers as well. However, there are still several genuine wholesalers. Baby care product are also being sold at mega stores like Auchan, Real, Tesco or Carrefour. There is also about 600 online shops selling products for children – from diapers and teats to school articles and hi-tech toys. But the biggest player in Polish e-commerce is Allegro (local competitor of eBay). Most of products offered there is new, often sold by regular shops.

According to Adam Smiths Center estimation, Polish parents spend on their baby in first two years of its life from 6,100 to 15,200 EUR. An average net monthly salary is 618 EUR.
In1980–2003 the number of births was decreasing, from over 700,000 to less than 353,000. However, in last years it is higher and higher, with almost 420,000 in 2009. With over 835,000 babies at age 0–2, Poland is at 7th place in EU, following Turkey, France, UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. Unfortunately, the fertility rate is very low, just 1.39 in 2008.

The biggest group of Polish women used to have their first child at the age of 20–24. Nowadays it is 25–29. That means they are better educated, have more money and richer life experience. Thus, they are more demanding consumers. They want to give their babies all the best, but for reasonable price. What is interesting, the global economic crisis did not affected children expenditures. In fact, in Poland there was no crisis. In 2009 Poland was the only European country with positive economic growth (+1.7). Meanwhile growth rate of GDP in EU dropped to –4.2%.

“Most foreign vendors prepare the sales plans according to birth statistics only. They do not take into consideration that there is still Poland A and Poland B – the eastern part of the country is not as wealthy as the western one. Anyway, most of our partners is satisfied with the co-operation. In last 2 years some brands suffered global decline of 20–30%. Meanwhile we have noticed growth” — declares Janusz Musiol, co-owner of Marko, importer and distributor of Tiny Love, BeSafe, Miniland and over a dozen other brands.

As there is lots of young moms in Poland, in last 4 years some consumer fairs appeared. The biggest event is Mother & Baby, organized in Warsaw, Cracow and Wroclaw. Every edition gathers from 5 to 15 thousand parents and mothers-to-be. But there is a chance to set up a trade fair, too. In 2010 Targi Kielce, second largest trade centre in Poland, started with Czas Dziecka (Kid’s Time) with 80 exhibiting companies and very good opinions of trade visitors. In 2011 Czas Dziecka is planned for 1–3 of April.

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