Market Study- Consumption Rituals: The Baby Shower Part II

Part II of this market study is a look at secondary sources regarding the consumption ritual.

Selected Research Article: Broadbridge, Adelina & Morgan, Henry. Consumption Buying Behavior of, and Perceptions towards, Retail Baby Products. ISSN 02659778.

Adelina Broadbridge is Senior Lecturer at the University of Sterling, and Henry Morgan was former Buying Director of Options NI Ltd.

This article investigates consumer perceptions and buying behavior of baby care products. It studies the receptiveness of three large communities to the introduction of a new brand of baby care products by an existing brand associated with lower price alternatives to manufacturer brands in adult hygiene products.

The major elements of the article investigate customer’s perceived risk associated with trying various brands of baby care products and customer’s brand loyalty to manufacturer brands.

Major findings:

  • Most consumers in the study are risk averse, especially in regards to baby care products. The extent of perceived risk is dependent on a combination of length of time that the brand has been established, the marketing support given by the retailer, and the consumer’s perceptions of the retailer’s overall reputation.
  • The vast majority of participants are very loyal to dominant manufacturer brands (Johnson & Johnson, etc.). The major reason cited by participants is the perceived poor performance, physical risk (negative effects on the child) and financial risk associated with store brands. The majority of participants confirm the statement “I would buy myself a cheaper product to save money before buying a cheaper baby care product.”
  • Place of purchase is important in the selection of baby care products. Most participants identified preferred “safe” retailers.
  • Reputation of the brand (and retail outlet) strongly influences consumer behavior, followed by recommendations made by professionals or friends and family members.
  • Mothers who receive a “bounty bag” at the hospital, containing trial samples of products experienced a reduction of risk in their decision making process.

The study recommended one introduction strategy for a new brand that would most likely reduce the perceived risk. The paper describes most store brands as pursuing a defensive strategy, where stores sell cheaper versions (often using inferior ingredients to reduce manufacturing costs) of manufacturer brands in hopes of competing with manufacturer brands based on lower price offers.

In the case of baby care products, this strategy is not likely to succeed. Instead, a new product that is introduced on a small scale (within the geography of the study) would need to be marketed as the best value-added brand. The introduction and development would be an offensive strategy for improving store image and profitability by offering an exclusive product and extended choice to the customer.

The conclusion of the research recommended that the sponsoring brand should not pursue a strategy developing its own range of baby care products because of its identity as a brand associated with lower priced alternatives to manufacturer brands in adult hygiene products, a successful offensive strategy would be a high-risk venture.

to be continued…


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2 Responses to Market Study- Consumption Rituals: The Baby Shower Part II

  1. Probably a better strategy would be to target high end baby products, and specifically make an impression in the minds of potential customers (through campaigns) that ‘in these tough economic times, just like we did in the adult hygiene category, we will revolutionize the hygiene category for babies by offering better products at cheaper prices’ or ‘your baby deserves the best, and so we are making baby hygiene products affordable for everyone’.


    • marketini says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate it. Your response corroborates much of the data from the article cited here. Given the high risk aversion in consumers, the best position for a market entrant would be high-end. I am not convinced that consumers recognize this company’s offerings as “better products at cheaper prices.” I think the brand is currently positioned as more of a low-cost alternative, without the value added benefit.

      Therefore, in order to enter the market as a high-end brand, the company would have to invest in a brand-shift campaign which may involve re-engineering current products or adding high-end product lines in existing markets. This could be expensive and risky.

      There is an alternative. While the brand in question is positioned poorly for entry, they might be able to tap into the market by buying a smaller brand in that niche, similar to Kellogg’s acquisition of Kashi brand for its venture into organic foods.

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