The global maternity wear industry has maintained a relatively optimistic growth over the last four years, with an average annual growth rate of 4.55 per cent from $11900 million in 2013 to $13600 million in 2016. Analysts believe that in the next few years, the size of this market will further expand and by 2021, it will reach $16200 million.
Taking advantage of this fact, Medela, the world leader in research-based high quality breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories with over 50 years of experience, has forayed into maternity wear segment.
“In an interview with Indiaretailing, Managing Director, Medela India, Emilie Moulard Anand said, “Consumer demand for Medela products has been constantly growing on the account of our continuous focus on research and education and developing innovative products with clear benefits to users. The maternity wear range which was recently launched in India, enables Medela to even better provide breastfeeding solutions that meet the lifestyle needs of Indian mothers. Medela can complement its range of breast pumps and accessories with fashionable nursing lingerie and tanks.”
She further added, “Our maternity and nursing wear collection cater to the premium yet affordable pricing range. Starting at Rs 1,999 we offer a range of nursing bras and tank tops that focuses exactly on what a new and expecting mother needs – comfortable fit, convenient nursing. The premium stretch fabric adjusts to the changing shape of the mothers body while the wire-free and seam-free design provide excellent support and everyday comfort during pregnancy and while nursing.”
Currently, Medela range of maternity and nursing bra, sleep bra and nursing tank tops are available at Firstcry.com, Amazon.in and selected offline baby shops. Medela India distributes its products through modern trade, pharmacies, chemists, small and medium baby shops, organized retail chains and e-commerce. The brand has no plans to set up exclusive brand outlets.
Elaborating on the marketing strategy of the newly launched range, Anand said, “Factors like a rise in number of working women, nuclear families and high disposable incomes have led to the growth of maternity wear segment in India. We firmly believe that these trends will help us generate lucrative avenues for the intimate wear business over the coming years. Considering this, our strategy will be to convince our existing consumer base to try out the newly launched maternity wear range. However, we are extremely confident on the quality of our products, and believe that the consumers will also enjoy the added value we put into our product portfolio to ease breastfeeding.”
The annual maternity wear market in India is estimated at about Rs 2,000 crore, according to a recent study done by a retail consulting firm. And it is growing at around 15-17 per cent a year. Major reasons for growth can be attributed to – young couples opting for fewer kids these days, the idea of pampering oneself during the period is quite strong, work culture, high disposable income and global/western exposure.
Understanding the predisposition of millennial moms towards increasing utilisation of technology in their everyday lives, Medela had launched a unique and personalised breastfeeding application, MyMedela to make the journey more comfortable for new and expecting mothers.
“The MyMedela app is a trusted source of expert advice on breastfeeding. It understands that every mother is unique and therefore offers a personalized content and support to each mom’s individual situation. MyMedela is available 24/7 and is constantly updated. The app uses a goal-based approach to help moms succeed breastfeeding longer. Besides, it helps moms connect with other Medela products that are right for them,” revealed Anand.
However, India is still a nascent market for breast pumps. While India is a ‘pro-breastfeeding’ country (with nearly 77 per cent of women breastfeeding after one year whereas only 27 per cent of American babies are still breastfed at one year), the rates of early initiation (breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth) and exclusive breastfeeding rate for the first 6 months, as recommended by WHO, are rather low (below 50 per cent). This indicates a lot of mixed feeding, which is not optimum for the health and development of infants, starting with discarding colostrum, the first milk, which is actually the best source of nutrients.
“Therefore, our focus has been to spread awareness by educating nurses, health professionals new and expecting mothers and even fathers on subjects related to breastfeeding, nutrition, maternal and child care and further empowers them to be a happy nutrition provider through the high-end breast pumps,” concluded Anand.