We have fintech, agritech, and now it is time for baby tech.
Notably, countless baby tech products, gadgets, apps, and services are available in the market today. And the demand for these products is stronger than ever as Millenials and Gen Z are leaning into the comfort of tech solutions when adding a new member to their families.
Years ago, experts considered baby tech a niche market that only a few investors knew or wanted to get into. Presently, anyone considering adding to their family can find technology for everything from conception to potty training and beyond.
Now that the sector addresses families of all sizes, shapes, and cultures, there is a space for real innovation.
Among the most popular baby tech areas are nutrition and health, according to Amy Schulman, a partner at Polaris Partners (1). Attention to children’s nutrition is driven by a generation of parents who have grown up with an ease of technology and concentration on their own health and nutrition, something they are paying attention to with their offsprings.
In 2019, Forbes estimated (2) that the US baby tech market size was over 46 billion USD and reported that investors had poured over 500 million USD into companies within the space since 2013.
Notably, not only in the US but globally, the industry is evolving rapidly. Some experts also suggest that the term baby tech has outgrown itself, and they are now using the term fam tech or family technology to describe the full lifecycle of having a child.
A lot of the products are focused on making parenting easier while also keeping the infant healthy.
Yet, the market is still nascent, and people are trying to understand it. There are many experimental technologies and things like sensors and artificial intelligence that speak more towards the end-users. There are still questions around some of these products, whether they are luxury or necessity.
While parents are willing to spend more for products they knew would work, according to Jill Gilbert, a baby tech producer at CES (3), products under affordable range always sell better.
Gadgets continue to gain popularity, especially in the innovative technology that helps pregnant women, babies, and expectant families from all income segments across the entire life stage.
According to UNICEF India (4), every day, there are about 67,385 babies born in India, which means that many new end users annually get their products.
And as babies age out of one area, it would be nice to offer solutions that grow along with the infant and their experiences.
It is an interesting issue for businesses in the segment, how to make the market bigger than the 25 million babies born or extract a ton of value from them. If one can solve the issue and make a lasting customer relationship, one can attract thousands of dollars from one customer.
And now, thanks to the new generation of parents, there has been incredible demand for baby tech products and investors who are now excited about the space.
2021 has already witnessed more than 55 million USD in VC secured in the children’s products and services space. Businesses are looking to a new generation of parents with a high willingness to spend (5).
Nearly 100% of babies are now to Gen Z and millennial parents (6). They are more tech-savvy, educated, and digitally connected. They are also demanding better child-focused services and products.
Consequently, there has been a rapid increase in the market for digital products and technologies for infants and young children. It is owed in part to several ways in which baby tech can make family life a little easier for new generation parents.
According to Statista (7), the baby monitor market, reportedly the largest baby tech segment, is likely to be worth over 1.6 billion USD by 2024.
A previous forecast originally pegged growth for the period from 2016 to 2024 at 8.6%. However, a report by Allied Market Research published in 2020, right after the coronavirus outbreak, predicts a lower growth rate, 5.4%, from 2020 to 2027. Researchers believe that the global baby tech market will increase to over 1.9 billion USD by 2027.
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Factors Driving the Growth
Nearly 100% of babies are now to Gen Z and millennial parents.
1 Parenting is becoming more digital
Gen Z and Millenials use digital technologies daily. They turn to social media and the internet for advice and are more inclined towards baby tech products than baby boomers and Xennials. Several products such as intelligent thermometers, smart cots, and breast pumps are at the receiving end of surging demand.
2 More Working Moms
Following changes in modern family policies, mothers are more likely to work today. Even though India remains absurdly low thanks to its orthodox beliefs, there has been a surge in the global average of economically active women over the years.
It has led to an increase in the family’s disposable income, leading them to spend more on their children compared to previous generations of parents.
Why are Baby Tech Parenting Solutions in Trend?
Businesses operating in the baby tech space normally target the primary user category: parents. Pregnancy trackers, breathing and heart rate monitors, and other baby tech solutions dominate the market.
In short, the world of baby tech starts long before conception. With generations today becoming parents later in life, it is essential to monitor “future mom’s” cycle. It is where smart technologies come in handy; with the correct data and correct evaluation can offer valid and application-related products.
For instance, cycle applications such as Flo, Clue, and Cycles calculate the average end of menstrual cycles and assess specific health parameters to predict fertility window. Even though several studies indicate that apps that use cycle length alone for ovulation calculation can’t deliver precise predictions, they are still pretty popular.
Additionally, there are several smart devices women can use. The Kindara app, for instance, uses Wink oral thermometer measurements to track basal body temperature and fertility. Ava fertility tracker is an elegant bracelet worn at night. While the woman sleeps, the device tracks several physiological parameters like resting pulse, skin temperature, and blood flow. It then uses the data to predict the most fertile days.
Ovula Ring offers a cycle tracker which measures the woman’s temperature 288 times a day as a means of anticipating ovulation.
Alternatively, one can also use these wearables and apps as contraceptives since a solution capable of measuring fertility can also measure infertile days (8).
There are several interesting baby-tech products for pregnancy, rendering the life of the unborn infant more tangible. For instance, some devices use sound waves to echo the infant’s heartbeat from the 9th to 16th week of pregnancy.
These products, for example, HeraBeat, usually consist of a phone app and wearable and allow expectant moms to share their pregnancy data with others. The Philips Avalon CL monitors the infant’s heart rate and activity in the womb with special plasters that moms can place on their abdomen.
Philips had launched the product in response to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing moms-to-be to feel assured that their infants are fit and well in real-time with any doctors’ visit.
Parents are deprived of sleep, and tranquility no sooner has the infant arrived. These days, however, parents don’t need to rush for baby monitors since several solutions are available when checking that the infant is well and safe.
- Baby sock than a baby monitor: Owlet’s smart sock checks the heart rate and oxygen content of a sleeping baby and alerts parents if there are any fluctuations in their heart rate or if they have any breathing difficulty. The sock uses pulse oximetry technology, which is connected to a smartphone with wireless charging.
- Smart Cot: Snoo is a smart cot from Happiest Baby. It can tell when the baby is crying and gently rock her back to sleep again. Parents can control it remotely with a mobile app.
- Measure Your Baby’s Temperature with Smart Thermometer: Kinsa’s smart ear thermometer takes its measurements within seconds. TempTraq’s wearable plaster transmits its measurements directly to users’ smartphones via BLE.
- Smart Breast Pumps: Several small devices, like Willow and Elvie users, have a wireless connection that moms can wear inside a bra. These devices are connected via mobile apps, assisting moms estimate the right amount of milk while documenting feeding times.
- Baby-tech Ecosystem: The Swiss firm AGU Baby, Advanced Growing Up has created an entire series of products that parents can control with an app, be it a sensor-based body thermometer, smart milk mater, or a programmable daylight lamp, which helps infants fall asleep and wake up.
Mobile Baby Tech Solutions
There are several baby tech solutions available in the market that allow parents to ease some of their worries by telling them the location of their kids and how they are feeling.
For instance, Sirona M, Cybex’s smart car seat, enhances a baby’s safety in the car. The device monitors infants and young children’s wellbeing via a smart chest clip, synchronized with the in-car receiver and mobile.
Several smart GPS trackers are available in the market, which helps parents monitor their children’s location, send notifications when they leave a certain area, and report to any emergency via an SOS button, phone call, or text message. To check the child’s whereabouts and create a connection with a smartphone, these trackers utilize various technologies like Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS, mobile radio, and LBS. Solutions include Mr. Securio, Lil Tracker, and Jiobit, to name a few.
As soon as toddlers outgrow their nappies, baby-tech turns into child-tech, everything from AI-based to robots education platforms. The market offers several solutions that stimulate the development of a child’s cognitive and social skills.
The market offers several robots with contact sensors and speech recognition. For instance, Woobo, a wifi robot, is fitted with speech recognition and answers questions. It can also express feelings and play with children over four years.
For today’s tech-savvy parents, some toys come with augmented reality tech. In the game, for instance, Hero Vision Iron Man AR experience, children can slip into the Iron man role. They wear a helmet, download the mobile application, place a smartphone in the AR goggle, and position AR markers in the room.
There are also several board games with AR with solutions like Tacto AR; the physical and digital worlds merge into one. To play the game, children need a tablet with the app and physical play figures.
The range of baby tech for the new parents and their infants is wide-ranging. The sector is also among the ideal stomping grounds for the IoT, Internet of Things. It serves as an excellent example of how even simple data such as sound, motion, brightness businesses can create smart helpers for the new age parents.
As we discussed, new parents are particularly concentrated on offering their children the best. They are ready to spend on high-end products, from organic food to luxury products.
Considering the other trends among Gen Z and Millenials, simplification, personalization, gender neutrality are likely to be key trends in the baby tech market from now on (9).
Rental Subscription Services
Children’s requirements change quickly, creating waste, clutter, and high expenses as parents try to keep up. According to Statista (10), Indian parents spend over 900 USD annually on their children’s toys on average. At any given age, each child in India has about 100 toys.
Enter the rental subscription service, which allows parents to get what they need when they need it, and only pay for the period of use.
In general, the goods rentals are surging in popularity (11), further boosted by the pandemic with no signs of slowing down. And the children’s market is a perfect fit.
Businesses can curate high-quality toy rentals, working with existing brands to create D2C toy rentals or branch out into baby wearables and electronics. Among the popular ones include the Owlet smart sock, at 539 USD, which parents can use for a maximum of 18 months.
Other opportunities for rental subscription services include:
- Food prep and feeding: For instance, high chairs, baby food makers, food storage solutions.
- Furniture and transportation: Examples include rental options for high-end durable rollers and other limited-use products like changing tables, dressers, and cribs.
- An end-to-end application: Parents enter their baby’s age, and a list of appropriate rental products pops up. Leverage the personalization trend by offering parents a questionnaire that returns personal recommendations.
- AR/VR Gaming Rentals: As gamification is rising, AR/VR rental options will also get high demand. PlayShifu has recently secured 17 million USD to expand their STEM-focused toys that gamify early learning skills (12).
Reduce Screen Time
As children are becoming more digitally connected, balancing nature and tech will be a big market.
There has been a massive rise in Google searches (13) for “screen time parental control.” Parents are looking for ways to encourage their children to spend their time outside. Notably, Forest school is already a thing and is trending with over 33.1k monthly searches, according to Keywords Everywhere.
Forest school, Run Wild My Child, has more than 60k monthly site visits, according to Similarweb.
Often, children and parents feel like they don’t have enough time to play. And entrepreneurs can offer age-related courses, classes, weekends, afternoons, etc., out in nature. Forest birthday parties are another good niche.
Businesses can also keep audio offerings for children under their radar. Storypod, for instance, secured 1.6 million USD pre-seed last year for its no-screen entertainment option for children. Businesses can develop high-quality audio options; a paid podcast platform for children may be the next big opportunity.
Organic Child Nutrition
There are expectations that organic baby food will grow at over 12% CAGR over the upcoming five years (13).
There has been rising demand. More and more Indian parents purchase organic baby foods because of their emotional and visceral desire to feed nutritional and healthy food to their children. The easy availability of affordable products further drives the demand (14).
Businesses can also leverage new science and nutrition trends like local produce, plant-based food, and gut-health support.
Entrepreneurs can leverage personalization here as well – for example, meal plans and supplements designed specifically for allergy sufferers and fussy eaters.