30 Jun 2016 13:18 IST

Online, offline retailers cash in on baby boom

Maternity and childcare segment is growing at an estimated 17-18 per cent

The country’s next retail battle could well be fought in the maternity and childcare segment. With $20 billion in sales and growing at an estimated 17-18 per cent, the segment is seeing intense interest from both online and offline players.

The players, including Amazon, Arvind Lifestyle Brands and Babyoye, are pushing to corner a sizeable chunk of the market.

Major drivers

Rising disposable incomes, a growing demographic of child-bearing women, the availability of a wide range of quality branded products and services; and most important, high aspirations of parents for their children are the major drivers for the brisk sales of baby diapers, carriers, apparel, shoes, and jewellery, among other things.

Amazon has ramped up its baby (0-2 years) category consumables to 1,60,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) including diapers, prams and toys, ranging from ₹100 for a baby shampoo to ₹50,000 for imported strollers. Over the past 12 months, the exclusive international brands it launched — Maclaren, Ergobaby, BabyBjorn, Clevamama — have seen brisk sales despite their high price tag.

“We introduced Baby Shoe Store this month and bootees, ballerinas, sneakers are hot-sellers; 25 per cent of kids shoes sales is from the Baby Shoe Store. Baby apparel has grown 250 per cent YoY,” Mayank Shivam, Category Leader, Amazon Fashion, told BusinessLine.

Saurabh Srivastava, Head of FMCG at Amazon India, said the baby consumables segment has grown 300 per cent in the last 12 months. “The baby category is one of our top five categories in every location globally and customers of this category are the most loyal,” he said.

Pointing out that 70 per cent of India lives in nuclear families today, Naiyya Saggi, founder-CEO, BabyChakra said: “Young parents turn to our site for help in finding anything from paediatricians and maternity hospitals to baby apparel, accessories and expert advice.”

BabyChakra is a discovery and networking platform for young parents, with 15,000 services covering all aspects of childcare, including health and wellness, education, and entertainment, helping 30 million moms and dads in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi make crucial decisions.

J Suresh, MD and CEO of Arvind Lifestyle Brands, which brought American children’s apparel and accessories brand The Children’s Place (TCP) to India last August with one store, pegs the revenue opportunity for TCP at ₹500 crore from 40-50 stores in the next five years.

Fuelled by demand, Arvind has grown its TCP store count to seven in the metros with the eighth opening at Indore this weekend. It plans to soon open stores in Ludhiana and Ahmedabad.

Mahindra Retail’s 141 Babyoye stores in 58 cities registered 23-per cent same-store growth YoY. CEO Prakash Wakankar said the range across categories such as pre-natal, birthing, post-birth at Babyoye, is what drives sales.

Firstcry.com, which offers 1,35,000 SKUs of baby products from 1,500 national/international brands, has grown its average selling price from ₹900 three years ago to ₹1,200 today.

It said its customers, who are young moms, are spending ₹24,000 annually on baby products.

“We have adopted an omni-channel strategy and set up a network of 170 franchisee stores for baby products pan India. Ninety five per cent of Indians shop offline. Therefore, we encourage our online customers to shop at our stores and vice versa, to increase customer wallet share,” said Supam Maheshwari, co-founder and CEO of Firstcry.com, which is growing at 100 per cent YoY.

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