France is well-represented as a partner and competitor at Kind + Jugend
After Brexit and Emmanuel Macron’s election as President of the French Republic, Germany and France are moving closer together not only politically, but also economically. This can be seen at the Kind + Jugend trade fair, where six French companies in the French Pavilion are offering systems to test baby items, products for baby care, craft products, and children’s accessories and toys.
Unsurprisingly, France is strong in the children’s clothing sector. The the biggest worldwide licenses to produce exclusive children’s articles are owned by two leading French kidswear manufacturers, the Kidiliz Group and CWF. In addition to a strong identity, French children’s fashion brands are also characterised by a recognised know-how in terms of quality and creativity.
Other French manufacturers of baby articles and toys are seeking to replicate this success. All the major manufacturers of baby articles are also represented on the international stage. In view of the declining birth rates in their own country, French companies are relying on internationalisation and on countries with increasing populations and a growing middle class. French exports of baby and children’s equipment are growing steadily and amount to 800 million US dollars per year.
The French toy market has also been growing steadily for several years. It generates 3.3 billion sales per year and is therefore as strong as the German market. Of these, 540 million come from export. The production is concentrated in two regions, Franche-Comté and Rhône-Alpes. A network of small and medium-sized enterprises produces cosmetics, perfumes, foodstuffs, dyes, plush, and cardboard, thereby supporting the toy and cosmetics industry. There are 490 companies nationwide, which contribute 210 million items to the industry’s above-mentioned annual turnover.
“Both markets are, of course, different. In Germany, 40% of annual sales are generated in the Christmas business. Innovation is an important aspect: only half of the products remain on the market for more than two years. Parents pay particular attention to quality, with wooden toys, for example, being sold often. France is a good fit for this market, as there are young and established companies. Tradition and innovation,” says Nadège Rambaldini, project manager of Business France, the national agency that serves the internationalisation of the French economy.
As an example of the way that French and German manufacturers complement one another and the two markets, Rambaldini mentions the production of pushchairs, child car seats, and toys, where the German competition is particularly strong, particularly in technical areas such as car seat production. “The French companies bring their creativity to the German market and offer an alternative to German toys. Often, for example, the design is quite different,” says Rambaldini.
In terms of taste and willingness to spend money on children’s products, she finds similarities and differences between German and French parents. She says: “Basically, both French and German parents look for child-friendly products, the child’s comfort, and the functional aspect. However, there are also differences: in France, aesthetics can sometimes be more important in purchasing decisions than technical aspects. The motivation to buy is, for French parents, perhaps more emotional than in Germany.”
According to Rambaldini, the safety, hygiene, and health standards of individual products can vary, but, due to the strong export orientation, European standard specifications are followed in the production of all products.
“Kricri Nature’s baby care products are 100% manufactured in France. CIJEP products are designed in France and manufactured in Asia,” says Rambaldini.
Renowned traditional companies such as Pébéo and young start-ups such as Linii and Kricri Nature are presenting their products at the Kind + Jugend trade fair. Here is an overview of the six companies and their products, which can be found at the French Community booth in Halle 04.1 (booths B030-C035):
|CIJEP||Licensed children’s accessories||CIJEP manufactures a large range of children’s products: soft toys with the brand name Jemini, and furniture products, kitchen sets, and garden furniture with the brand Fun House. The company has recognised know-how and offers high-quality branded products. CIJEP has several well-known customers, such as Disney and Universal.
|Kricri Nature||Baby care||Kricri Nature is a young company that has developed a natural baby care range. From shampoo to baby soap to moisturiser – all products are hypoallergenic and are produced 100% in France. Strict tests ensure the high quality of the products and the wellbeing of the children.
|Testing systems||Lefort Testing provides manufacturers in the baby and children’s industry with systems to conduct safety tests in compliance with current national and European standards.
|Games and toys||Lunii is a unique storyteller for children to stimulate their imagination. Children choose their hero, the location of the story, an additional character, and an object. Then begins the listening experience: LUNII tells the desired story from among 48 possible stories.
New stories can be downloaded from the website.
|Pébéo SAS||Arts and craft||• Water-based acrylic paints for children over five years of age
• SKRIBB acrylic marker
|Unimarc SAS||Baby care||Unimarc is an international leader in the healthcare industry. The company’s aim is to develop optimal baby products through research and clinical studies.