Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Due to the improvement of living standards, consumers have a strong demand for daily necessities. By 2023, the Southeast Asian hygiene products market will have doubled. Mainly driven by factors such as consumer income growth, urbanization, and literacy growth in Southeast Asia. With the rapid development of the economy and the improvement of education level, consumers in developing countries in Southeast Asia will have greater purchasing power and health awareness to incorporate modern disposable hygiene products into their daily lives.
In addition, the female population in Southeast Asia is more educated than ever before, which has pushed more women into the labour market and increased disposable income. Educational and economic advancement not only further supports the growing demand for the use of modern, convenient hygiene products for themselves and babies, but also provides women with greater purchasing power to purchase these products. By 2023, the increase in per capita disposable income for the Southeast Asian female population is expected to exceed $1,200, which is twice the global female population.
Income growth, disposable diapers become essential
If you want to enter the consumer market for disposable diapers, the threshold for disposable income for parents is about $4,000. Although most adults in Southeast Asia are still below this level in 2018 (except Singapore and Malaysia), more adults are crossing this threshold, especially in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The main drivers of disposable diaper growth include: higher population growth rates; increased number of dual-employee households; and parental hygiene awareness, especially as the middle class is increasingly focusing on infant health. The number of dual-employee families is rising, which means that parents are dealing with changes in baby affairs and education, such as the average age of potty training, which makes it take longer to use baby diapers. In addition, because parents are busy, they are more dependent on convenience products.
Another noteworthy trend in Southeast Asia is that consumers are increasingly turning to disposable pull-on pants. It has become the most popular form of market in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The convenience provided by the pull-on pants is a major factor driving this transition as parents further look for products that offer more comfort, protection and greater freedom of movement for their children.
In addition, by 2027, the demographic composition of Southeast Asia will change, with an increase in the population of the 1-4 age group, compared with a decrease in newborns. This change creates more for older children using zipper products. opportunity. However, the affordability of the pull-on pants is a key factor in product replacement, especially for the promotion of the use of the majority of low-income consumers.
Price affordability is a key factor in the replacement of disposable diapers. For manufacturers of high-end products and low-end products, there are opportunities here. Affordable entry-level products can attract consumers to start using disposable diapers; high value-added innovative products can cater to the needs of middle and upper-tier consumers, who are often willing to spend more on high-quality products. To design a successful quality product, it is important to grasp consumer preferences, product impact factors, and consumer willingness to pay in different markets.
In most cases, the claim of a high-end brand alone is not enough. For example, Euromonitor International's global consumer survey shows that Thai consumers have a strong preference for high-quality baby care products, but this is not the same as a preference for premium/luxury brands. On the other hand, Indonesian consumers tend to use child safety products that are easy to use and certified by government or non-profit organizations. Proper positioning of your products in each market ensures increased sales and market share.
For baby products, brand loyalty can be strong, and parents tend to choose a reliable brand and trust the quality of the product. For example, Kao's Merries brand claims to be ranked “first” in Japan for high- and middle-income consumers in the region. Consumers in Southeast Asia regard the “Made in Japan” label as a guarantee of quality, especially as they link Japanese products to quality and safety.
In the Southeast Asian market, the use of various products has not yet fully realized its potential, so in order to succeed in Southeast Asia, manufacturers must establish emotional relationships and trust with parents. As a first point of contact, introducing products in hospitals is an effective way to increase the use of these products. In addition, in the field of pull-on pants, brand owners should pay attention to educating consumers about the use and benefits of products, thereby increasing the awareness and understanding of the use of zipper products.
Female role change and diverse needs
As mentioned earlier, the level of female education and disposable income in developing markets in the region has been increasing, allowing modern women with more autonomy to focus on self-care. Therefore, in recent years, the female care market in Southeast Asia has grown rapidly, and female consumers have attached great importance to hygiene in their daily lives, so they use and replace health care products more frequently.
At the same time, the key strategy for growth in developed markets in the region is to take advantage of lifestyle changes and trends. In Singapore, for example, women are increasingly looking for hygienic care products that use organic and sustainable materials that are considered safer and more beneficial to the skin.
It is worth noting that sanitary pads have grown in most markets in Southeast Asia. The demand for such products comes from women who have a small menstrual flow and want to save money because the price of the pads is usually lower than other health care products. In addition, many professional women, especially middle-class and upper-class women, prefer to use pads every day to maintain freshness and comfort.
On the other hand, tampon remains a niche market in the region. This is largely due to the unfamiliarity of the product, the high price and lack of marketing. They attract a small number of women who are familiar with Western culture or have exercise habits, such as swimming and other water activities.
The competitive landscape of the Southeast Asian health care market is dominated by multinational companies – Unicharm, Kao, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and Essity. Occupy the largest share of sales in the health care retail market. This indicates that consumers are more inclined to purchase products of well-known brands based on quality and safety considerations.
Product innovation has further stimulated demand and brand sales. New products in the region include organic cotton products for sensitive skin, such as Unitek's Sofy products, as well as new technologies to improve fit and comfort to minimize the risk of leakage, such as Kimberly's high cleansing Kotex products.
In developing countries in Southeast Asia, a large proportion of the population is located in remote areas and below the threshold for disposable health products. Therefore, the growth of traditional health products is still strong. These markets have a lot of unmet potential and are a blue ocean for health product manufacturers.