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Advertise With Us Parents expect nothing but the best when it comes to their babies‟ diapers. And,Privacy Statement manufacturers have responded to these expectations with improvements to their Videos diapers. Not only do diapers need to provide the best protection against leaks to keep o Stretch babies dry, but they must also offer extra features that can provide comfort, breathability, o Wipes stretch and convenience. Diapers are achieving improvements, such as more elastic waistbands and leg cuffs and increased absorbency. The result is a marketplace where consumers have many options in choosing which diaper will best suit Laboratorios Indas, S.A. offers its their babies‟ needs. In addition to fit and Maybaby brand of baby diapers in various sizes and absorbency levels. comfort, added features include softer and cloth-like outer coverings with colorful prints and cartoon designs and built-in lotions. All of these features can make one diaper stand out from another. The result of all of this innovation is a need among manufacturers to keep place with consumers‟ demands and expectations for baby diapers. “End users today have clear ideas about what a baby diaper should have,” explained Margarete Krämer, press officer for Paul Hartmann AG, Heidenheim, Germany. “They expect high absorbency, no rewetting, a comfortable fit and skin-friendly and breathable materials. In addition to this, they expect a perfect fit and a diaper that is easy to handle with features such as refastenable tapes.” While this may seem like a never-ending list of demands from consumers, manufacturers have no choice but to follow them, continue to innovate and offer a diaper that will best meet all of these needs. A look at today‟s diapers reflects this trend, and a disposable diaper produced today bears a little resemblance to one made a decade ago. Great Expectations No matter how many extra features a baby diaper has, one fact is clear—the diaper must protect against leaks and provide dryness. “Leakage protection and dryness are the top two priorities, and if a diaper can not do this, it will not stand a chance on the market,” said Christian Bona, international marketing manager at SCA Hygiene Products, Stockholm, Sweden. “Once a diaper can
prove it has these qualities, manufacturers can then focus on the extras, which,ultimately will make the product differentiate itself and stand out against all of the otheravailable products on the market.” One requirement in the diaper industry is that a diaper offer convenience to parents. Consumers want a diaper that is easy to put on, remove and dispose of in a short amount of time. Manufacturers have responded by adding SCA‟s Libero premature diaper does refastenable tabs and tapes so that parents can not represent a large market for the company, but executives are check to see if the diaper has been soiled and, optimistic about future growth. if necessary, use the tapes to roll the diaper upand throw it away.With the push for increased comfort and ease of use comes another trend in diapers—an evolution toward looking and feeling like a big kid. Therefore, many manufacturershave added pull-up pants to the baby care lines. Although pull-up pants are more gearedtoward older children who are undergoing toilet training, they can be pulled up and downto offer parents and children more convenience.Although pull-up pant diapers are well received and not showing any signs of fading fromthe market, there are certain fads manufacturers have to remain aware of. For example,many companies are now adding cartoon designs and colorful graphics to a diaper‟souter cover. While this does not boost the performance of the diaper, these trends couldinfluence customer purchasing decisions.“A diaper‟s extras are big cost drivers,” said Mr. Bona. “Trends like these are alwaysgoing to come and go.”Ms. Krämer said she has noticed that the baby diaper market tends to work in alternatingcycles in terms of where a manufacturer‟s attention is focused. “One year there seems tobe a focus on innovations for the absorbent core, and the next year the focus shifts tothe outer cover,” Ms. Krämer explained. “While we expect this shifting back and forth tocontinue, consumer demands will stay the same—best possible fit, skin friendliness andhigh absorbency.”
The top ten brands of disposable baby diapers for the 52-week period ended Nov. 3, 2002 ranked by Information Resources Inc., Chicago, IL. Sales and figures are for Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX; Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH and private label brands. All of the sales figures include total sales for supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, excluding retail sales from Wal-Mart stores.To get the best possible fit, Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, has developed its HuggiesSupreme diapers, which, according to executives, are designed to provide the ultimate incare. One of the most notable improvements to Huggies Supreme is an all-aroundstretch design.Huggies Supreme diapers are designed for a perfectly comfortable fit, whether the babyis lying down, crawling, or running. This design was reportedly made possible throughproprietary K-C technology involving stretchable nonwovens, which are found in theouter cover, bodyside liner, waistband and fasteners.Like K-C, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, has added innovation to its Pampers BabyStages line, which was launched last February. Pampers Baby Stages feature threedifferent diapers that represent the different stages and growth patterns of a baby‟sdevelopment. The three stages are Swaddlers, Cruisers and Easy-Ups. Swaddlers,which is used during the baby‟s infant stage, feature a quilted cover, gentle care lotionand a superabsorbent core as well as a soft, quilted backsheet. Cruisers, the secondstage represented in the line, are for toddlers and have more stretch materials on the
sides for the more active babies. Easy-Ups is a pull-up pant for older children.The new lines from industry leaders K-C andP&G reflect a trend toward developing diapersin sync with babies‟ development—not just size.“One of the major trends happening right now inthe baby diaper market is focusing on how ababy is developing,” Mr. Bona said. “Creating adiaper that adapts to a baby‟s needs is veryimportant.” One innovation this trend has SCA‟s Up And Go diaper design features cartoon characters and othercreated is additional stretch. Where once colorful graphics, which are becoming more common in diapers‟ outerstretch was limited to waistbands and leg cuffs, covers.now it is being applied to the overall chassis ofthe diaper.Developing Diapers For Developing RegionsWhile all of these extra features have become important when competing in the babydiaper market, concerns with costs are not going away. Consumers are still looking forthe best quality at the best prices, but this varies throughout different regions. Althoughthe diaper market is mature in developed areas such as North America, Western Europeand Japan, penetration in other areas is limited, making these regions more attractive tomanufacturers.Indas, for example, hopes to gain market share in less developed areas such as Africawhere diaper penetration is less than 15%. It is improving its manufacturing processesand reducing all of its direct costs. Although Indas is a small player in the diaperindustry, the company‟s sales have been increasing annually by 20%, makingexecutives optimistic for the future.To gain marketshare in lower income regions, manufacturers must study consumerspending patterns in these regions. Some of their research shows that consumers inThird World nations buy diapers in much smaller quantities than in the U.S. and Europebecause they do not have the disposable income and therefore cannot afford bulkpackages.
“In less developed areas such as Africa, people do not go through that many diapers inone day as they would in the U.S.—primarily because they cannot afford it,” said SCA‟sMr. Bona. “They are more likely to go to the store and buy two or three diapers at atime.”In addition to smaller packages, diapers with lower quality and price are more attractivein less developed areas. Because customers are not as sophisticated in these regions,they tend to have lower standards than consumers in western nations.Competition At HomeStruggling economies in developed regions has also led to smaller packages. Both K-Cand P&G recently lowered the amount of diapers in each package to lower their listprices. Heavy competition in the market prevented either company from raising the costper diaper with the conversion.Competition struggles between P&G and K-C are recognized worldwide. Currently P&Gdominates approximately half of Europe‟s diaper sales with its Pampers and Luvsbrands, while K-C‟s brands lead the U.S. diaper market. Both P&G and K-C will mostlikely remain the market leaders in the future.Also shaping market leaders is the consolidation of mass retailers such as Bentonville,AR-based Wal-Mart. Stores such as these offer a wide variety of brands at competitiveprices which leaves competitors fighting for store shelf space. This forces manufacturersto cut costs to adhere to pricing levels activated by these mass retail outlets. As a result,many smaller marketers can not compete with the larger brands and have been forcedout.“There is more „big brand‟ competition rather than „smaller brand,‟” explained Ms.Krämer. “Financially strong brands are in a position to dictate prices to retailers. Oncethey have been able to reduce prices, these reductions can be matched by smallercompetitors, if they want to remain on retailers‟ lists.”Smaller Companies Gaining SpeedThis does not mean that there is no longer room for smaller and private label brands inthe baby diaper market. Instead, it means that these manufacturers may have to be
more creative and work harder when marketing their diapers. Additionally, smallermanufacturers are exploring niches in the baby diaper market, such as diapers forpremature babies.“Smaller diapers for premature babies is a very important niche for us,” said Santiago deGracia, general manager of Indas. A large portion of Indas‟ business revolves arounddiapers for babies born prematurely.In the future, these “preemie” diapers are expected to make more of a mark in themarket as healthcare facilities have more success in saving premature infants. PaulHartmann launched Fixies New Life, its diaper designed specifically for newborns, inOctober. The diapers feature a round cut-out front to leave the belly button uncovered.This facilitates better care of the sensitive skin surrounding the navel as the umbilicalcord heals, according to Ms. Krämer.Private label producers also need to stay creative when exploring newer market areas,such as premature diapers. “With private label diapers having a price that isapproximately 20-30% less than leading retail brands, the outlook for further growthlooks promising,” Mr. de Gracia said.If smaller manufacturers can not find a way to stand out among market leaders, they willhave a difficult time penetrating the market. And, if smaller brands begin to trail behindconsumers will may switch to a K-C or P&G brand.In addition to constructing a diaper similar to the market leaders‟ products, private labelmanufacturers should also look for opportunities in growing regions such as Asia andLatin America. With a large populations and number of consumers, Asia has becomeone of the largest growing markets for baby diapers. Latin America is also an area fordiaper growth, despite economic turmoil in Argentina and Venezuela.Airlaid Talk DwindlingA few years ago, there was a lot of talk about the possibility of switching to an airlaidcore. More recently, however, this conversion does not seem as likely. Although airlaidcores are common in feminine hygiene products baby diaper manufacturers report that itis not a necessity at the moment.
“For a large majority of producers, airlaid cores will mean nothing because they alreadyhave quality forming equipment in their existing converting lines,” said Tomas Gandemo,baby diaper research and development director at SCA. “These lines offer a more cost-effective way to make a diaper core compared with newer airlaid materials.”Additionally, Mr. Bona noted that diapers cannot get much thinner than they are rightnow, and the focus will remain on updating features while continuing to offer a variety ofproducts that follow a baby‟s development pattern.As for the future, it is anyone‟s guess what baby diaper manufacturers will come out withnext, but for now they will continue to focus on developing products that provide the bestfit and comfort for babies, while offering a variety of sizes and stretch to follow a baby‟sdevelopment. Extra features at a low price will continue to determine which diaper will bechosen.
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