Products for infants, toddlers, and small children must meet a lot of standards and win a lot of trust from buyers. Products like Car Seats, Strollers, Cribs, and Highchairs are an important part of caring for some of the most vulnerable members of the population. When caring for these new humans, what brands of products are their parents purchasing and at what outlets are they making these purchases? And what are they considering as they make those choices (which probably feel extra fraught because they are designed for such small children)?
Which Retailers and Brands do buyers shop for childcare products?
When buying products for infants, toddlers, and small children, the adults in their lives most commonly turn to Walmart, Amazon, and Target, in that order. When looking at online only purchases, Amazon and Walmart trade places, while Target stays steady at third. Prior to the pandemic, close to two thirds of children’s products were purchased in brick-and mortar stores (61 percent in the 3ME Jan 2020). Online sales trended slowly upward during the pandemic (peaking at 46 percent in the 3ME Jul 2020), though they have decreased slightly as more stores are open to shoppers and shoppers feel safe enough to go to stores. That said, the mix of online to brick-and-mortar unit shares is similar, with 48 percent in-store and 45 percent online.
There are a wide variety of smaller brands that cater to childcare needs, but the brand that rises to the top is Graco, with 21 percent of unit share for the market. Notably, buyers have a low incidence of not knowing what brand of product they have purchased, sitting at 6 percent for 3ME Jan 2021. This suggests that brand matters for purchases in this category.
What childcare products are people buying most often?
The two child-care products that top unit share among TraQline respondents are infant/toddler/booster car seats (32 percent of purchases), with highchairs coming in just behind at 31 percent. One possible reason for such high purchase incidences is due to the roles they fulfill in caring for very small children. Car seats play a vital role in keeping infants, toddlers, and small children safe in moving vehicles. As children grow, their safety needs change, as detailed by health organizations such as the Mayo Clinic. And due to their size, infants and toddlers cannot sit in chairs designed for adults, and their caretakers need a way to feed them that is both safe and convenient. Additionally, safety guidelines for child-care products shift over time. A car seat or highchair that was considered safe for one child may no longer meet those guidelines when the next child is born.
Infant/Toddler/Booster Car seats keep kids on the move
Like other childcare products, Infant/Toddler/Booster Car Seats have a similarly low number of purchasers who report that they do not know brand. This acute knowledge of brand names is one part of why buyers choose their car seats. The top two reasons are Good Brand Name and Competitive Price. Interestingly, only 5 percent of buyers indicated that recommendations were an important factor in deciding what brand of Car Seat to purchase. It would be easy to assume that recommendations would play a larger role, given the proliferation of parenting groups one can find online.
Another thing to note about Infant/Toddler/Booster Car seats is that they can be purchased as part of “travel systems”, which typically combines both a stroller and a car seat. Approximately half (48 percent) of TraQline respondents indicate that the car seat they purchased was part of a travel system. Stroller buyers more frequently choose travel systems for themselves, at closer to a 60/40 split. This higher percentage of travel systems for stroller buyers could possibly be attributed to needing more car seats than strollers. A family with a very young child may only need one stroller but require two car seats—one for each parent’s car.
Highchairs give babies a seat at the table
Once babies and toddlers are started down the path towards eating solid foods, caretakers tend to invest in highchairs. Most buyers cite price and brand name as the top two reasons they choose a specific highchair brand, just as they do with car seats. Much like other children’s products, this emphasis on brand name means that there is a low incidence of buyers who report that they do not know brand (6 percent 3ME Jan 2021). And when choosing a highchair, one of the more sought-after features is a safety harness to keep small, wriggly children securely in their seats for the duration of a meal.
Childcare Products Quick Summary
Again, making decisions on what to purchase for infants, toddlers, and children can feel especially fraught, so knowing where and what consumers are purchasing can hep retailers position themselves to win trust. As of the 3ME Jan 2021, here are the Childcare Product Leaders and Stats you need to know:
- Walmart, Amazon, and Target are the top three outlets, with 29, 21, and 12 percent unit share, respectively.
- For online only shopping, the top three outlets are Amazon, Walmart, and Target, respectively.
- Of the multiple baby products included in TraQline, Infant/Toddler/Booster Car Seats are the most frequently purchased products, with 32 percent of the mix. Highchairs come in a close second with 31 percent.
- Graco is the number one children’s products brand, winning 21 percent unit share.
- Children’s Products have a low incidence of consumers not knowing brand name—only 6 percent report not knowing brand.
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