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“Chinese parents want the best for their child, so they are looking for high quality products from trusted brands”

Athena Gong, General Manager at Children-Baby-Maternity Expo (CBME)


China, the second largest consumer market for baby products, has more than 81 million children under 4 years and recorded 16 million new births annually. Since 2001, UBM organizes in this market the trade fair CBME, which this year reaches its thirteenth edition and that has become one of the largest childcare trade fairs in Asia. CBME China 2013 will be held from 17 to 19 July at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.

How is the childcare market in China evolving?
With 15 to 20 million babies born each year, China presents a young and growing children, baby and maternity products industry. China is currently the world’s second largest consumer market for babies and children’s products after the United States.  
Chinese parents want the best for their child and they are looking for high quality products from trusted brands.

What is the approximate business volume generated by the childcare industry in the country?
Retail sales for baby and children products in general reached US$180 billion (EUR 138 billion) among which 0-3 years products generated US$45 billion (EUR 34.5 billion) in revenue with an annual growth rate of 15%. By 2015, market size for 0-3 years is expected to exceed US$83 billion (EUR 63.7 billion).

And how is evolving CBME Shanghai?
Shanghai International Children Baby Maternity Industry Expo (CBME China) has grown with the industry. When we first launched CBME China in 2001, we had around 25 brands in 500 square meters exhibition space. In 2012, CBME hosted over 1,908 brands from 1,287 exhibitors in 115,840 square meters of exhibition space.
Year-on-year, we registered a 50% increase in exhibitors and a 44% increase in exhibition scale, making CBME China the world’s largest sourcing event for children, baby and maternity products. We have grown not only in scale but in our coverage in the industry as well. We aim to showcase more brands and more exhibitors, giving buyers a vast selection of products and suppliers under one roof.
For 2013, we are adding two more halls to accommodate the demand in the market. CBME China 2013 targets to welcome over 60,000 visitors and over 1,400 exhibitors representing 2,100 brands across 138,000 square meters of exhibition space.
What are the most commonly purchased childcare articles? And the least ones?
Baby care products, skin care, lotion, feeding bottles, diapers, clothing, car seats, strollers and baby milk powder rank high among the purchases, while it is hard to say which are the least purchased ones, since the consumer purchasing behavior is different from city to city, town to town. We have to take into consideration the purchasing power of each city as well: what ranks high in Shanghai, which is considered a Tier I city, might be different from Chengdu, a Tier II city.  

The amount of money that families spend on childcare articles is increasing or decreasing?
China Academy of Social Sciences survey shows that most families spend 50% of their total family income on their child. This increases proportionately as per capita income increases. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) published data shows that in 2010, China’s per capita GDP was US$5,400 (EUR 4,145), but by 2030, it is forecast to reach US$16,000 (EUR 12,280) according to the World Bank Group (WBG): with an increasing per capita income, there is much room for growth and expansion in this industry.  

Which are the latest market trends of the childcare industry in China?
China is a huge country and consumer purchasing behavior is affected by various factors like geographical and socio-economic differences. The rise of online shopping is something new in the industry, with younger generation parents being more tech-savvy: they want to look for certain brands online, read user reviews and get price comparisons instantly. They want more alternatives and now they have access to more products beyond what they see in the malls, supermarket and baby stores.
How will the childcare market evolve in the country?
China’s children, baby, and maternity products industry is booming. With the ‘one-child’ policy in place, the baby is the center of not only the parent’s world, but the grandparents from both sides of the family and other relatives as well. We are looking at a ratio of at least 6:1 adult to baby ratio per household. Parents and grandparents will not hold back on the baby or child, they want to give them the best in terms of child care, toys, clothes, education, food, etc.
For foreign brands entering the Chinese market, they have to understand that China is a huge country with varied purchasing behavior and socio-economic factors in place. There is no one easy formula to hit consumers in a Tier I city versus a Tier II or a Tier III city, so they have to study the market carefully and see what will work for their brand and products. We recommend most brands to find a good distributor who has a vast knowledge of the market and with an extensive network.
One way to get a better understanding of this market is to visit CBME China in July: this is the must-attend event for suppliers and buyers of children, baby and maternity products, not only in China but from all over the world. Each year, we see more brands and more product innovations and developments unveiled at CBME, so it is the perfect venue to gain a better understanding of the children, baby and maternity products industry.

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