The market for children's goods and food: what remains after the sanctions and how much it costs today

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The market for children's goods and food: what remains after the sanctions and how much it costs today
The market for children's goods and food: what remains after the sanctions and how much it costs today
12 May, 11:04EconomyPhoto: tg
Goods for the little ones always were an expensive pleasure, but from the first days of the special operation in Ukraine, its' prices soared.

For some positions there was a rise in price by 1.5-2 times, but demand is growing further. In some supermarkets, they even began to hang "anti-theft" systems on baby formula. What is the situation today?

Julia Suntsova

Goods for children occupy a significant share in the Russian market. In 2020, 30 million orders worth RUB 60 billion were placed on online platforms alone, which is 82% more than in 2019. In the new economic conditions, indicators are growing even with prices that have increased significantly. Parents fear a predicted shortage.

Demand for products for children of the giants PepsiCo, Nestle and Procter & Gamble has grown significantly after announcements about the suspension of the company's investment activities in Russia.

The market for children's products in several segments - food, hygiene products, toys - the market has changed very much.

Baby food

American food giant PepsiCo (produces Agusha and Miracle Baby) announced on March 8 that stops investments in Russian production, the company also stopped the sale of beverages, with the exception of essential goods. After leaving the market reported one of the largest food manufacturers Nestle (produces NAN, Gerber, Nestle, Nestogen), but promised not to stop the supply of dairy products and baby food.

At prices, domestic analogues can be even more affordable than foreign ones (due to incomparable logistics costs), Russian meat baby food even competes with imported ones, however, fruit and vegetable purees and milk formulas do not reach the same high quality bar, experts say.

For example, mashed potatoes produced in Russia may contain sugar and concentrates, and babies from such a composition may develop allergies and indigestion. If we compare Agusha (produced in Russia) with the foreign brand Semper (produced in Sweden), then the differences in composition are obvious: the foreign product contains only puree and vitamins.

Manufacturers of milk formulas in Russia generally comply with the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor. It completely replaces the usual imported milk formula, for example, the domestic "Nutrilak" (produced in Istra). However, domestic milk formulas are not suitable for children with lactose deficiency, allergy to cow's milk protein, colic, constipation, and regurgitation. In other words, not a single therapeutic milk formula is produced in Russia, which could replace foreign goods.

According to Data Insight, after February 24, the price increase is especially noticeable in the mashed potatoes section: 6 cans of turkey with vegetables from FrutoNyanya cost 651 rubles, 8 packages of Agushi cost 552 rubles. The rise in prices is associated with an increase in the cost of packaging, raw materials and delivery, even for Russian manufacturers.

Some went up in price, some went down a bit. Examples of price changes from the Wildberries website:

• A package of pumpkin puree "Fruto-Nyanya" of 12 pieces on March 6 cost 311 rubles, on March 13 - 502 rubles, on April 3 - already 546 rubles, on April 24 - 479 rubles.

• Powdered milk formula Friso Gold 2 800 gr March 6 cost 967 rubles, March 20 - 1030 rubles, March 27 - already 1447 rubles, April 24 - 1269 rubles.

• A set of 4 packs of 250 grams of milk porridge "Bellakt" 5 cereals on March 6 cost 782 rubles, on March 27 - already 953 rubles, and the price has not changed since.

Despite rising prices, demand is growing. Ozon's press center told Forbes Life that in March, baby food sales on the site were up 75% year-over-year. The number of stocks of milk formulas, especially the brands "Malyutka" and the Belarusian "Bellakt", by March 25 increased by 17-26%.

Children's hygiene products

Procter & Gamble (sells Pampers) and Kimberly-Clark (sells Huggies) announced a decision to stop sales of all consumer products except personal care products in early March, too. It is impossible to refuse the sale of feminine hygiene products and diapers "in accordance with the humanitarian nature of the products," the companies said, but corporate investments in Russian production were stopped.

Consumer demand for diapers, pads, and waterproof panties has been on the rise ever since. Goods began to be bought with a margin, this led to a shortage of diapers, diapers and other baby hygiene products in the windows. Warehouses are out of stock, the stores said. Ozon reported that shoppers purchased 71% more diapers in March than a year earlier. Inventories are also increasing: by the end of March, stocks of Huggies diapers increased by 211%, Moony by 213% in total for Ozon and Wildberries.

Imported brands can be replaced by domestic Babyguz, Mepsi, Sun and Luna, which meet the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor. However, the components of the quality of diapers - cellulose, superabsorbent, non-woven material at Russian factories are only being completed, everything is purchased abroad, market participants note.

Offline outlets make up for the lack of goods with their own and Asian counterparts, for example, Chinese brands Ko Mo and SunnySan. Asian diapers are roughly comparable in price to European ones: a pack of Ko Mo 82 pieces in size S costs 1889 rubles, Huggies Elite Soft Platinum 90 pieces of the smallest size costs 1999 rubles.

But, while offering low prices for materials, China at the same time greatly saves on quality. The manufacturer can send primary pulp for testing, and they will send it off from secondary pulp. In addition, little absorbent is placed in diapers, which cannot cope with a large amount of liquid. Western brands, as opposed to Chinese ones, constantly control the quality and quantity of materials used.

Roskachestvo in its rolling study found that only a few brands are tested for compliance with the increased requirements of the Rospotrebnadzor standard. Of the foreign ones, only goods of the Libero, Mepsi and Pampers Premium Care trademarks can claim the Russian quality mark. Of the Russian brands, Eared Nyan (manufactured by the Nevskaya Kosmetika company), 365 Days (the brand of the Lenta store), as well as Korablik diapers (Ship private label) are positively noted.

Examples of price dynamics from the Wildberries website:

• Diapers panties Huggies Elite Soft 5 size 76 pcs February 27 cost 2019 rubles, March 6 - 2470 rubles, April 3 - 3089 rubles, April 24 - 2719 rubles.

• Pampers panty diapers 2 sizes 72 pcs February 27 cost 1157 rubles, March 6 - 1518 rubles, March 13 - 1790 rubles, April 24 - 1775 rubles.

• AQA BABY 2 in 1 bathing product with a volume of 250 ml on February 27 cost 233 rubles, on March 6 - 295 rubles, on March 13 - 329 rubles, on April 24 - 323 rubles.

Toys

Although the overall conversion of online stores for children's products is growing, sales of toys, educational toys and entertainment products have declined. From the conclusions of the Russian study "Analysis of the market of children's toys in Russia" it follows that this is due to the crisis state of the country. The decline began back in the pandemic and has continued now, although initially growth was predicted for this category of goods for the next three years.

The "top three" toy brands, which occupy 43% of the market, are still Lego, Mattel, Hasbro. None of the companies left Russia, but their products are now sold with significantly changed prices due to the fluctuating exchange rate.

According to a study by Roskachestvo, and Asian analogues of designers from time to time undergo checks for the quality of plastic, and half of them violate the requirements of the Customs Union in terms of labeling. Packages for Bela, DIY, and Lepin, for example, were missing a date of manufacture, and Lepin did not list a manufacturer. These gaps make it more difficult to check the quality of goods.

Although GOST and the technical regulations of the Customs Union regulate the use of harmful substances in the production of plastic, there are other criteria by which one can judge the quality of products. For example, the details of the Russian constructor "Plastmaster" are poorly fixed and "crumble in the hands", there is no instruction on the package that will guide the child during the game. In addition to "Plastmaster", Roskachestvo recognized the designers of the "Fixie" brand as inconvenient to use.

Market experts believe that the shortage of foreign toys is possible in the future of three months - six months, for such a time there will be enough stocks.

According to the president of "Korablik" Alexei Zuev, 90% of all children's entertainment products are made in China. Russian companies expect to be able to enter the same factories where toys of Western brands were created and produce their own similar product there.

According to experts, the demand for domestic toys and art supplies has already increased by 30%. However, in the middle and low price segment, it is difficult for a Russian manufacturer to compete with foreign goods in terms of cost. For the development of the industry in Russia, large markets and a mass consumer are needed, and the parental demand in the country still leans towards foreign brands.

Price examples with Wildberries:

• Lego Classic 10696 cost 1,709 rubles on February 27, 2,370 rubles on March 6, 2,629 rubles on March 13, 2,986 rubles on March 27, and 2,849 rubles on April 24.

• Collection doll Mattel Harry Potter February 27 cost 5805 rubles, April 10 - 6966 rubles, the price has not changed.

• The board game "Jenga" from Hasbro on February 27 cost 1359 rubles, on March 6 - 1549 rubles, on March 27 - 1984 rubles, on April 24 - fell in price to 1203 rubles.

In addition to the above categories, there is an increase in prices for children's furniture and "transport". Prices were raised by all brands working with the country, including domestic ones.

Most of the complaints come to the Detsky Mir chain of stores . Parents report a 300% increase in the price of some products. The Federal Antimonopoly Service conducted an audit and, based on its results, prepared proposals to reduce prices for baby food.

As reported in the press service of the department, the FAS, in particular, proposes to nullify customs duties on raw materials and packaging and simplify the procedure for their import from third countries. According to the service, it is also necessary to suspend the introduction of labeling of children's products in relation to dairy products, while at the same time including milk formulas in the list for continuous monitoring of pricing in the consumer market.

Wildberries or Ozon marketplaces, where customers liked prices and services before, are now often inferior to retail stores. This is explained, apparently, by the stocks of the latter.

Chinese AliExpress, popular among Russians, is also not happy. Diapers, toys have become more expensive than in branded stores in Russia, since prices there are pegged to the dollar, the exchange rate of which sellers often determine in the most arbitrary way.

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