by Jacob Porter, One Click Retail
We used to think of electronics as a relatively narrow product group. TVs, computers and stereos, mostly relegated to the living room, made up the bulk of it. But over time, electronics have spread into nearly every other product group and invaded every other room in the house. Digital devices began appearing in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom – and now even in the nursery.
Baby Electronics is an innovative, growing product category. However, this doesn’t mean that babies are getting their own phones and computers any time soon (although VTech’s Baby Phone and Tablet are proving popular on Amazon). The category mostly contains accessories designed for the parents, such as baby monitors and bottle warmers. As a whole, electronics are meant to make our lives a little bit easier. New parents, most of all, can use the help, so it’s no wonder Baby Electronics is emerging as a unique and significant category.
Today’s new parents also come from the Amazon generation. This is the demographic that has brought Amazon 49% of all eCommerce sales in the US and made it one of the world’s largest retailers. For this cohort, Amazon is a more popular starting point than Google for online shopping.
So when these consumers, most of whom are already regular Amazon shoppers, suddenly find themselves caring for children, Amazon begins to look even more attractive. The appeal is no longer that they don’t want to leave the house, it’s that they’re too busy raising their kids. Compared to trying to take a newborn shopping, the convenience offered by Amazon can make the lives of new parents so much easier.
This fact has helped to drive Amazon’s Baby Electronics to a growth of 27% in the first half of 2018 (H1 2018), reaching an estimated value of $140 million, with most growth taking place in Active Baby and Infant Health.
Feeding Accessories has always been the largest Baby Electronics category on Amazon, with estimated sales of $42 million and the bulk going to electric breast pumps and bottle warmers. Because of the relative maturity of this category, growth has begun to slow, falling to 13% YoY during H1, roughly half of the category average of 27%.
Despite the size, the bestselling item from this category ranks as only the #7 Baby Electronics item overall. This item, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump, was the top seller in H1 2018 and at the time of writing still ranks as the #1 organic result for “breast pump”. Unfortunately it’s currently out of stock and as a result has lost the “Amazon’s Choice” tag to the Signature Pro by Lansinoh.
The #2 breast pump (#9 in Baby Electronics) is the S1 Plus from Spectra Baby USA, but it currently ranks as #3 in search behind the same brand’s cheaper S2 Plus. This lower rank may be caused by the fact that the S1 has its price “hidden” by Amazon, meaning that shoppers can’t see the price until they add the item to their shopping cart. This is an optional feature for brands that will hide the price if it falls below their suggested retail price – usually a result of Amazon price matching a competitive retailer.
Brands will often enable this feature to prevent their products from being sold at too low of a price, which can harm profit margins. But this causes the product’s rank to fall and annoys shoppers, so brands should avoid it by keeping a tight control over their supply chain and making sure competitive retailers aren’t undercutting Amazon’s prices for the same SKUs.
Another brand trying to compete in this space is Philips, which currently has a banner ad appearing at the top of the results page for the term “breast pump” featuring breast pumps from the Philips’ Avent line. Philips is already leading in another subcategory, Bottle Warmers, with the bestseller earning the spot as the #10 Baby Electronics item during H1 2018 (being sold at a 43% discount at the time of writing). With other current brand leaders suffering from supply chain-related challenges, marketing on Amazon is a good way for Philips to improve its rank in Feeding Accessories and displace its closest competitors.
If current growth trends continue, within a year Active Baby could surpass Feeding Accessories as the largest Baby Electronics category. The size and growth of the category can be credited to the broad variety of products available on Amazon; once limited to simple bouncy chairs, Active Baby now includes a variety of interactive (and increasingly digitized) items designed to keep babies entertained.
Fisher Price is easily winning in this category, accounting for 3 of the top 10 bestselling Baby Electronics items in H1 2018, with the Rainforest Jumparoo interactive bouncer ranking as the #2 item overall. However, 4moms has been able to compete with Fisher Price by introducing Bluetooth capabilities to their bestselling mamaRoo 4 High-Tech Baby Swing. This innovation, which allows parents to control sound and motion from their phones, is an example of the kind of enhanced functionality that is going to drive the Baby Electronics market going forward.
Health & Safety
Naturally, Health & Safety is a major motivator for parents. The growth of the Baby Electronics field has opened the door to a vast amount of improvements to the types of technologies available, and the accessibility of Amazon as a platform for consumer questions and reviews has helped new parents to make more informed decisions. For instance, the Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor, which dominates the Child Safety category (iBaby is a distant second), has over 23,500 customer reviews and 125 questions answered. This high level of consumer engagement helped it to become the highest selling item in H1 2018.
While Child Safety is dominated by Baby Monitors, Infant Health is broader. The category experienced an impressive growth of 40%, second only to Active Baby, with most of that growth driven by innovations in digital ear thermometers such as the Braun ThermoScan 5, the #4 item overall. These products feature nonintrusive thermo scanning, allowing parents to easily monitor their child’s health without causing any discomfort. Another major component of the Infant Health category is home environment control. Parents can provide a clean indoor environment with air purifiers that get rid of any unwanted allergens in the home, with brands like Vicks and Levoit leading the way.
In Baby Products, eCommerce penetration is very high. It’s no wonder: not only do new parents struggle to find time to do their shopping, but Amazon also offers them a huge amount of customer feedback on any product before they buy it. At the same time as all these new parents are making Amazon their preferred retailer, the Baby Electronics sector continues to emerge as an exciting, innovative sector. Brands with something to offer that can make life easier for new parents will find their audience on Amazon.
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