The Evolution of Baby Product Marketing
September 29th, 2021
By: Alberto (A.J.) Gastelum
The demographic of modern parents have shifted to a generation of older and more professionally-minded people. This has led to new opportunities in marketing baby products, with products today being more convenient, stylish, and safe than those of the recent past. There has been little need to improve the mere functionality of products; instead, current products cater to the ones really buying them: the parents.
The past decade has seen a decisive shift in company understanding of the baby industry. Strollers are the perfect example. As early as the 2000’s, strollers were clunky and awkward. They came in loud, printed designs with infantile cartoons, or simply shades of various black. They were heavy and fashioned as industrial equipment that needed an entire minivan trunk to move them around. While some folded, they were rarely convenient enough to carry or to move about, and affordability created an uncrossable gap for most parents. Fast forward to today, and strollers are heavily marketed to parents. From the design to the features, strollers have become a statement and an asset to the rising parent generation:
Convenience: They have become uniformly lightweight and collapsible. Many are modular, with additional food trays, sun hoods, and even full car seats able to be mixed and matched. Hand-freeing features such as one-handed collapsibility, bag hooks, and cupholders are also advertised, with parent comfort at the forefront of the design.
Style: Designs of strollers have become tasteful, coming in an array of options. Amazon’s best sellers list offers a variety of simple yet statement colors. While the default is usually black, simple color accents abound, with little evidence of the graphic prints and characters of the past.
Safety: Many strollers feature “ergonomic designs” not just for infants, but for those pushing them. They have no-pinch clips and lockable wheels. In addition to physical safety, sanitary safety has become the norm, with machine-washable components and antibacterial plastic.
Catering to Parent Preferences
While many parents have long supported organic and healthy food options for their children, it is a new phenomenon entirely to create services catering to the parent’s values and awareness. For example, Diaperkind is a weekly NYC diaper service where cloth diapers are delivered on a subscription basis directly to local homes. It is a young business founded in 2009 and has gained traction for marketing itself as an environmentally conscious brand. The company uses sustainably grown cotton, collects used diapers, re-washes diapers, and uses local delivery drivers instead of trucks. This is far from anything a child might worry about, but it is a business built entirely around the parent's environment conscionably.
This is true on a related note with the change in industry perceived parenting expectations. Recent years have seen design changes in diaper bags and strollers to more professional and more classy looks. This is in part because many parents, especially men, do not want to walk around carrying something childish like a Winnie-the-Pooh diaper bag. The demographic shift of parents to an older, wealthier, more professionally inclined individual has been catered to as products have become marketed towards a broader variety of adults.
Making baby products that work is a task the baby industry has been perfecting for decades. But making baby products that parents will want to use is a more recent shift in the marketing world. Parents and caregivers want more than brutal functionality, they want a product that fits their needs.
The changing demographics of parents are altering the traditional marketing of products, all the way from designs to new business ventures.
AJ Gastelum is one of the Co-Content Directors this semester. He is a sophomore at NYU Stern studying Marketing with a minor in Studio Art. Check out his vertical on Digital Marketing!