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Great turn out for the AGM

24/06/2023

Great turn out for the AGM

The Baby Products Association was delighted to welcome more than 60 delegates to its Annual General Meeting and Networking event in London in June, its first face-to-face event since before the pandemic.

Robert Anslow, managing director, commented: “It was great to see so many members and also a large turnout of non-members attracted by the pertinent topics presented in the seminar programme. Hopefully, many of these will realise the immense benefits of being part of their industry trade association and certainly hope to welcome them into membership in the future.”

The AGM agenda was presented by the Association’s chair, Marc Hardenberg, who explained the importance of the work of the technical and executive committees. These sit on many European panels which shape safety standards for nursery products throughout Europe and ensure safe products and a fair trading platform for the entire nursery industry. He encouraged non-members to seriously consider joining the trade association, not only for the many partner benefits on offer, but to continue this important work that profits all.

The 4 Ps for nursery

Erol Sukan of leading market research company GfK presented post-pandemic trends and considerations for the industry in 2023 with some interesting observations.

The four Ps:

Place                    - where are consumers purchasing?

Product                - what product trends and innovations are consumers investing in?

Price                     - how much are consumers willing to pay?

Promotion           - is promotional behaviour important for this sector?

Erol pointed out that the number of bricks and mortar shops selling baby products has declined significantly since 2015 and the number of brands and products sold dropped too. He also pointed out that the birth rate declined steeply between 2015 and 2020 but rose slightly in 2021. The government figures have not been released for 2022 yet to see if this rise will continue.

Obviously, during the covid pandemic a huge percentage of baby products were purchased online, but interestingly, parents are now returning to bricks and mortar stores, particularly for larger items such as strollers, travel systems and car seats. It was also noted that in-store promotions appear to attract sales and that consumers are willing to pay a premium for shopping instore rather than online.

Of all of the product groups tracked by Gfk the following areas saw a decrease in sales: bottle warmers and sterilizers, breast feeding accessories, high chairs and monitors; whilst sales increased for bottles and teats, car seats, soothers, strollers, tableware and teethers. In fact, one huge area of growth has been sustainable products with sales of bamboo tableware increasing by almost 60% and wood and wood + silicone teethers by almost 650%.

Overall, the baby products market remains strong and whilst other consumer areas such as tech, consumer electronics, IT, major domestic appliances, DIY and gardening, telecoms and office equipment all dipped significantly, sales of baby products rose by 5% in the last year, whilst small domestic appliances increased by 12%.

Association members will receive a copy of GfK’s presentation with copies of the AGM minutes.

R44 and R129 – what it means for business in the UK

There has been much confusion about the changes in law regarding R44 and R129 car seats and what this means for businesses manufacturing and selling them. Luke Burns of Cybex gave an update and an understanding of how this affects us in the UK.

Since leaving the European Union in January 2020, the UK is no longer governed by the same laws as those in the EU. In the EU, R44 car seats will be discontinued from September 2023 – however, those already placed in the marketplace can continue to be sold until September 2024. This does not apply to the United Kingdom, where R44 car seats can continue to be sold until the law says otherwise.

Luke was also keen to point out that R44 car seats remain safe for use. Parents should not be concerned about compromising their child’s safety as whilst R129 testing uses improved techniques, the R44 testing is extremely robust and statistics show that children travelling in this type of seat have a significantly reduced risk of injury in the event of an accident, than those not secured in a car seat.

Luke’s full presentation is available for Association members.

Understanding the Amazon Platform

Over 66% of all product searches start on the Amazon platform (rather than Google) and it owns over 32% of the UK’s online market share. In fact, 1.5 thousand products sell on Amazon every minute with over 281 thousand sellers profiting from those transactions.

Hardly surprising that the majority of businesses want to join the Amazon club, but whilst Amazon is huge – working with it is far from easy. Asha Bhalsod of The Etopia Consultancy explained the challenges of working with Amazon, particularly as everything is moving to virtual management and account managers are being phased out. Asha also explained the importance of investing in Amazon advertising and sponsored posts as without them businesses are unlikely to achieve the level of sales expected.

This presentation will also be available for Association members. 

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