Thursday, October 06, 2011

Are Parents Cutting Back on Diapers?

You'd be hard-pressed to find a family that hasn't been affected by the recession these days. People are clamoring to cut their spending on everything from clothing to health insurance. However, retailers have noticed a disturbing trend in particular products that only parents buy. In recent months, sales of disposable diapers have dropped, while sales of diaper rash ointment have risen.

Retailers generally rely on parents to keep spending when other demographics stop, even in the worst financial climate. However, according to consumer research, sales of diapers have dipped by 1% in just a four week period. Diaper giants such as Huggies saw sales drop by 4% in the four week period ending Sept. 4 and Pampers and Luvs experienced a 2.5% drop. Meanwhile, sales of diaper rash ointment have risen by 8% over the past year. Pediatricians explain that fewer diaper changes inevitably leads to diaper rash and many medical professionals have reported a spike in the number of diaper rash cases brought into their offices.

There are a couple of reasons for the dipping diaper sales. Companies are pointing to a declining birth rate since 2007, a common reaction to economic stress by populations. Nevertheless, the cost of diapers for a child per year adds up to approximately $1500 and many families may be forced to choose food or rent over diapers. Companies note that the number of diapers sold per baby have declined, not just overall sales.

There are alternatives to spending more on disposable diapers, besides loading up on diaper rash ointment. Many families make the switch to reusable diapers because they are cheaper in the long run. Some parents are working to potty train their children earlier. Parents might also want to learn more about elimination communication. Diaper companies are working to provide spending incentives by adding extra diapers to a package and providing more coupons. Parents should be able to find widely-available discounts on their favorite diaper brand online, in local papers and in stores.

Are you buying fewer diapers or have you found another way to offset the cost? 

How Tough Are Times? Parents Cut Back Diapers [WSJ]