Baby Brands: Should You Be Adding Cloth Diapers to Your Assortment?
The global baby care market is expected to increase its sales annually, with a projection to hit $66.8 billion this year. But while the baby care market shows no signs of slowing down, we are beginning to see some major shifts, most noticeably within the disposable diaper segment.
As organic baby care brands continue to grow and make their mark, industry giants should expect to see their piece of the pie beginning to shrink. For example, experts estimate Johnson & Johnson shares will go from 22 percent (2016) down to 18 percent in the next 5 years. Pampers (owned by Proctor & Gamble), Huggies and Luvs (both owned by Kimberly-Clark) – all companies that have historically dominated the diaper segment – are projected to sell more adult diapers than baby diapers over the next decade.
Time for a change?
Despite being a billion-dollar industry, the disposable baby diaper reign seems to be coming to an end. The fact of the matter is, today’s socially-conscious consumers (read: millennial parents) are far more concerned with their carbon footprint than they are with convenience disposable diapers provide. Additionally, several studies have been conducted that show disposable diapers may not be a viable solution for long:
- According to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 20 billion disposable diapers find their way into landfills each year, producing about 3.5 million tons of waste.
- Experts also say that pathogens found in the solid waste these diapers contain could also make their way into our water sources, potentially polluting drinking water.
- Studies indicate that diapers in landfills take up to 500 years to degrade, creating methane and other toxic gasses in the process. Manufacturing them also entails the use of many volatile chemicals damaging the eco-system.
- In addition to these chemicals, up to 200,000 trees in the U.S. alone are lost each year to make disposable diapers for babies.
Conversely, reusable cloth baby diapers stop an estimated half-ton of disposable diapers per child from going into U.S. landfills each year.
“The negative impact of disposable diapers on the environment is irrefutable,” remarked Gioula Chelten, founder of Babytooshy.com, a new online resource for parents seeking sustainable baby products. “Reusable cloth diapers are becoming more popular among health and environmentally-conscious parents, and reports show that reusable diapers also save families as much as $900 per year compared with disposables when the costs of diapers, laundry detergent and energy are taken into account.”
So as a baby brand, if you want to get ahead of the curve, you may want to consider adding cloth diapers to your product assortment. With so many baby wear companies making it their mission to reduce the environmental footprint of eco-conscious parents, it’s only a natural step to take. Resident Mommy Blogger and Project Manager at Hubba, Amanda Wheatley recalls her first year as a new mom, “As a first time mom, using a cloth diaper service was a life saver. I never had to worry about my supply. I never ran out. It was one less thing on my ‘mom brain.’ Knowing that my baby was in a safe product which was also environmentally-friendly put my mind at ease.”
If you do add cloth diapers to your roster, though, be sure to do your research – simply picking a cute, sustainable fabric and folding it into the shape of diaper isn’t going to get you sales. Cloth diaper technology has grown leaps and bounds with sophisticated systems that take into account factors like sustainability, absorbency, fit, leakage, comfort for the baby and, of course, ease-of-use for the parents. However, the demand is most certainly there… will you rise to the occasion?
Follow her at @D_isforDayana