Diaper Race: Can Nigeria Dr. Brown’s Upstage Pampers, Molfix, Others

Diaper is designed to absorb and retain baby’s urine and feaces. It is made from an absorbent material and is worn around the bottom and between the legs of the baby.

Need for quality diaper product that will protect and moisturize baby skin for a longer period has over the years make Diaper products have a remarkable market presence in Nigeria.

Diaper as a product has a remarkable presence in Nigeria. It’s used by almost 90% mothers for convenience. But of recent, diaper market in Nigeria has witnessed great proliferation ranging from low quality to premium ones.

According to Euromonitor trend report, Nappies/diapers/pants saw volume growth of 6% and current value growth of 16% in 2015.

While this growth is driven by the increase in urban populations (who are more likely to use such products than rural residents, the increase in women in formal working environments, and a growing baby population growth in 2015 was also supported by marketing activities and the increased visibility of a wide range of brands.

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The soaring need of diaper by mothers has made the market so big that different diaper products are bestsellers even without commercial communications provided it meets the consumer needs, from only one dominant brand about 17 years ago (Pampers), there are now numerous brands on offer in Nigeria.

Most of these diapers are imported into Nigeria market as branded or un-branded product to leverage on the short fall on the part of local manufactures to meet consumer demands.

Recently, some of these imported brands like Huggies and Molfix have set up business units to oversee the marketing and distribution of their product in Nigeria.

Although, Pampers Diaper a flagship product from P&G has for a long time been the market leader and to attest to that from our brand immersion research, it was discovered that the current mindset of the consumer especially the D, E socio economic generally refer all diapers to as Pampers (.(i.e. for a consumer in Nigeria, asking for Pampers in store its same as asking for any other type of ‘diaper’ brand).

Other common diapers available in market now are Molfix, Pompon, Huggies, Dr. Brown’s among others of which most are imported.
Grey products in this category mostly operate in parallel market structure and could not afford commercial marketing activities, thus, leverage on Pampers brand to sell their products.

The sustainability of FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) business depends largely on its marketing strategy, understanding customer needs, and the types of distribution model deployed. In this context, FMCG companies need to pursue wide combination of tactics to beat off competition, remain relevant, and most importantly grow market share to deliver profits.

Without mincing words, Pampers which enjoys national distribution as well as a strong reputation among consumers have conveniently and consistently win larger part of the market and mind share among the consumers having being the market leader with a value share of 43% in 2015.

In a recent interview with the former Head of Marketing, Wemy Industries Limited; Mr. Alexander Lawal, “When you go to America, the number one product there is an American product. The same thing happens all over Europe; but in Nigeria, why does the number one product always have to be imported and when would will get to the level where we would begin to export Nigerian products even overseas?”.

Wemy Industries Limited, manufacturer of Dr Brown’s , leading domestic player and pioneer manufacturer of baby diaper in Nigeria with an ultra-modern manufacturing complex have risen through the ranks and have been increasing their share of sales within the country’s fast growing nappies/diapers/pants category with growing recognition behind its Dr Brown’s brand across retail hygiene products.

Dr Brown’s has performed strongly in Nigeria, capturing third position in nappies/diapers/pants in 2014.

Despite fairly low prices, the company produces and markets quality products, with strong investments into product innovation to compete successfully with large multinationals and have consistently being building a truly Nigerian brand that Nigerians can be proud of.

Furthermore, the company is fast to react to developments in value segment to meet the demand of price sensitive consumers with innovative and superior products.

For instance, when Procter and Gamble introduced 10 diapers in a pack, Wemy Industries’ Dr Brown’s met that with a 14 unit pack size at a comparable price and a high quality product.

According to our source who wish to remain anonymous , “ when you go to some shops that sell baby products or even your local ‘Aboki’, the retailers buy the packs containing 144 diapers, open it and sell it one-by-one for N50 to low-income earners. But the problem is that it is not hygienic when it is sold that way. Whichever way, it is going to touch the baby’s private part. So Wemy decided to go the ‘Cowbell’ way by producing diapers in one unit but properly packed. Then, it is hygienic, safe and still affordable”.

Additionally, the brand now offers the widest range of diaper sizes in the market, enabling it to increase further its consumer reach and household penetration with basic key product features like, Dr.Brown’s training pants which helps with the transition from diapers to under wear, which it is an important part of potty training.

Beyond the distribution and sales of the product, the company should be willing to invest in sustainable connection between the consumers with consistent advertising exposure to communicate the benefits of its products and brand building activities for positive perception.

It’s about time we particularly in Nigeria and by extension Africa to begin to have a serious look at the way in which strong and meaningful brand identity can be developed and natured.

We need to quickly turn the Dr Brown’s product into a brand which all Nigerian can be proud and associate with and it is possible!

By Mogaji ‘Tunde.

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