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A comparative analysis of the French baby wears market and its main competitors

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  1. Introduction
  2. Market overview
  3. Market presentation
    1. Positioning of the brands
    2. Competition
    3. Imports and exports
    4. Consumers
  4. Upper market retailers
  5. SWOT analysis
  6. Key features and findings
    1. Network
    2. Image
    3. Products and ranges
  7. A study of the middle market retailers
  8. Petit Bateau
    1. SWOT analysis
  9. An overview of lower market retailers
  10. Summary
  11. Conclusion
  12. Bibliography

In an analysis concerning European Consumer trends that I found on Mintel confirmed my feelings; showing that French consumers consider themselves much more fashion conscious and have a look at style at first when buying clothes, even for babies (61,3% look at style first against 41,4% of British consumers) . That is maybe why the offer for baby wear in France seem to me to be much more fashion oriented and look like adult's fashion than in England where there is a real baby fashion, very different from adults', that look much more dressy and would be worn mainly for occasions in France. That was confirmed when I asked some French mothers about what they look at first when buying garments for their babies: 7 out of 10 told me that style was the most important thing and then practicability and comfort. Also, the structure of the market is quite different: in France baby wear retailers are mainly little stores, independent or franchisees, like Petit Bateau meanwhile in Britain there are big stores like Mamas and Papas that also sell accessories like buggies or even furniture. I also noticed that British consumers tend to shop more in their favorite high street fashion retailers like H&M, Next or Gap for their babies than in France, where it is not really developed yet.

It is to be noticed first that France is ranked 2nd among countries with high birth rate, behind Ireland, with more than 800.000 births per year and with 1.92 children per woman (European average is 1.40).

Since 2000, the time of the last big baby boom in France and more particularly 2003, French need for baby wear has increased significantly (around +2% per year ) meanwhile women's wear has remained same and menswear has drop. The baby wear market is a very lucrative niche in that it represents today more than 825 millions of euros for the 0-2 year's bracket2. Moreover the budget allocated by parents to clothing for a baby between 0 and 2 years was around 600 euros in 2002 and is rising steadily every year since then.

[...] Appendix I Petit Bateau's key features and findings Competition and Marketing 1 Competition Currently, Petit Bateau is the only brand on the quality medium market bracket, thus there is a high risk that direct competitors enter the market and propose the same kind of offer. Moreover, because of them being alone in the market, they do not consider that gaining customers loyalty is very important: their loyalty card is not very interesting[34] and they do not offer anything to their best customers. [...]

[...] Appendix C Analysis concerning competition, import/export and consumers of the French baby wear market 1 Competition It is an oligopoly that a few brands dominate (Zannier Group[31], DPAM Group, Okaidi Group, Petit Bateau) and where it is difficult for new brands to assert themselves. However, recently there is a tendency for high street retailers to penetrate the market: indeed it is a good way for them to diversify in a young, very lucrative market with great potential. Also, diversification is rather easy for them in that they already have the technology necessary (they were making adults' clothing and it is easy to adapt it to children or baby wear) and they have established brand names and customer loyalty as well: it is very probable that their current consumers for adults' wear will buy also for their children. [...]

[...] shopping > not easy to find 42% of turnover realized abroad > Not very dense network in France > reduce the risks linked to the not very well-known market health (present in a lot of countries > do not depend on an Global brand > same offer economy but a lot of them) everywhere > lack of adaptation > 3 distribution methods: branches, high failure risk[28] trading partners and multibrand distributors > widely distributed Marketing but still very controlled Recent brand > not so widespread > 2 branches: not very well known yet Orchestra > clothing, accessories Recent brand > people do not trust and shoes, in cities + 60.000 it easily (nothing has been proved) inhabitants Impossible to buy online Grand Orchestra > same + nursery and birthdays, in cities + 200.000 Ranges inhabitants Not a very wide range in sizes: only 8 baby wear sizes[29] Stores Not a so wide range in products for Very recognizable stores: giant babies under 3 bear that does soap bubbles in A lot of choice > needs to search front of each store to find the thing you are looking Everything is ordered and presented for to facilitate shopping Similar offer (style, quality) can Airy stores, easy to circulate in be found in wide diffusion Play areas for children retailers or supermarkets Nursery service available Places for baby changing and Products toilets adapted to children Finishing an sewing sometimes not very solid Marketing Products that tend to fade while Very interesting loyalty card: washing allow you benefiting from 10% Rather thin materials reduction all year long and Not very comfortable products receiving special offers Small sizing A lot of POS advertising Style that might not please Frequent special offers everybody > very flashy and Interesting refund politic: if an sometimes excessive > not adapted article is unsatisfactory, the to baby wear brand will reimburse it and offer the customer a voucher Complete website Very positive and dynamic image Ranges Very wide range: 1700 products divided into 130 themes per collection collections a year) Consistent range: possible to create coordinates or combine garments together Also a shoe range (more than 200 products) and a premature range 2 main ranges: trendy or basic Products Disney licence > only French brand to be allowed to create and sell products bearing the effigy of Disney's characters Very interesting prices: the lowest of the specialized chains market Products' shapes adapted to babies Practical garments Trendy and modern products Opportunities Threats Strategy Entry of foreign competitors a Further international expansion > lower prices will benefit from its experience and increasing notoriety Development of wide diffusion Stores openings in city centers or retailers > a bit lower prices and high streets> easy for customers to equivalent styles but better brand go in awareness and notoriety A growing market for this kind of products > baby wear do not last a Development of their stores' long time so people tend to look concept by other retailers (Okaidi for low priced products but stylish begins to create playgrounds instores) > loose their main Marketing competitive advantage Do not advertise > it could be an opportunity to increase brand Being passed beyond by competition awareness (not very high though) > similar offer but lower in and incite customers to visit quality stores Loose its image > global brand Products without products adaptation > risk Move into complementary ranges i.e. [...]

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