Review of Operations
Basic business strategy
As Japan’s diaper market matures and the birthrate declines, we will continue to offer innovative value proposals and raise awareness about hygiene and comfort issues, aiming to make childcare easier and more enjoyable.
Amid growing demand for disposable baby diapers, which is being spurred by rising incomes, we will play our part in creating healthy, hygienic environments for raising children by launching products tailored to local needs.
– Regions with high market uptake rates for disposable diapers
We will roll out high value-added products already sold in Japan to help make life more comfortable and reduce the burden of raising children.
– Regions with low market uptake rates for disposable diapers
We will expand our sales areas, mainly for economy-type products that offer a good balance between quality and price, aiming to improve hygiene conditions and reduce the burden of raising children.
Revitalizing the market by offering innovative, premium products and creating customer experience value
As the domestic diaper market matures, we are continuing to offer innovative value proposals and actively raise awareness about hygiene and comfort issues, supporting sales growth ahead of the market average. With our moony brand, which has the highest levels of quality in our disposable diaper range, we have focused on addressing needs for high value-added products, mainly with our Natural moony range of diapers, the first in Japan to have organic cotton-based surface sheets*. That approach has driven growth in our brand and in subcategories such as pants-type training diapers, helping Unicharm retain its leading position in Japan with a roughly 35% share of the market, while also stabilizing average sales prices. We are also aiming to revitalize the market by creating innovative product technologies for each stage of infant development.
Unicharm also provides a toilet training app that is fun for parents and children to use together. We have added a new night-time mode to help children overcome bed-wetting, which is part of our efforts to encourage good bedtime and morning toilet habits.
* Surface sheets of leading disposable baby diaper products in Japan (Unicharm research, March 2016)
Continued strong growth supported by Japanese-made high value-added
products and pants-type diapers, mainly through online channels
In China, we are seeing rising demand for high-quality, Japanese-made high value-added disposable diapers and pants-type disposable diapers that are reliable and safe. Unicharm’s strong position in pants-type diapers means it is well-placed to benefit from the current business environment.
Against that backdrop, Unicharm is introducing Japanese-made moony pants-type diapers and actively investing in marketing. Those efforts are strengthening product brands and our corporate brand, supporting continued strong sales growth through cross-border e-commerce channels and regular import channels. We aim to maintain that momentum by offering products that address a wide range of different needs and by increasing shipments to regional cities.
Brand development supporting continued strong growth
Unicharm remains the dominant market leader in Indonesia with a share of roughly 50%. That position has been built by improving the product lineup and offering a wider choice of high value-added products. We are using TV commercials linked to in-store promotions to develop our brands. We also sell products for a broad range of customer categories, from economy-type disposable diapers to standard and premium-type products.
Steady strong growth, consistently profitable since startup of new plant
Since entering the India market in 2008 with the launch of pants-type disposable baby diapers, we have steadily expanded our sales areas. That has supported double-digit sales growth, exceeding the pace of market growth. Unicharm has taken second spot in the market with a share of roughly 35% and sales of pants-type products have grown to account for around 94% of our total diaper sales. Unicharm’s operations in India have been consistently profitable since fiscal 2018. Going forward, we will continue to target steady strong growth while also working to lift uptake rates for disposable diapers.
Direct sales and shift to premium products driving continued growth
Unicharm’s sales in Thailand continue to grow at a steady rate, supported by moves to expand distribution channels through direct sales and by a shift to premium products. Unicharm is the leading company in the market with a share of roughly 60%. Including DSG International (Thailand) Public Company Limited, which we acquired in September 2018, Unicharm is the dominant player in the Thai market with a combined share of around 87%. We aim to maintain the current pace of strong growth by actively investing in marketing and offering new value proposals.
Increased brand promotion behind sustained high growth
Efforts to expand sales areas have paid off, with Unicharm retaining its leading position in the market with a share of roughly 51% and sales of pants-type diapers growing to account for about 66% of total diaper sales. We plan to step up business expansion in Vietnam by working closely with Diana, a local company acquired in 2011. We are combining our product development capabilities, manufacturing technology and marketing expertise with Diana’s sales network and understanding of local consumers. We are also offering free samples to maternity hospitals and investing heavily in other ways to build our brands, particularly those aimed at newborns and very young infants.
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