X-raying the Diaper brand war in Nigeria


Pampers, owning 60 per cent of the diaper market share, is a brand hinged on functionality, affordability and availability. With the largest distribution network and a N4.8 billion plant, Pampers is seriously defending its market leadership position. To increase market share, its manufacturer, Procter & Gamble (P&G), has added Pampers Baby Dry and Pampers Premium to the product portfolio.  P & G is taking its competitive drive ahead of the market by exploring below–the-line promotion, engaging moms with product towards experiential marketing.

Pampers is the dominant brand in this market, however, the competition is daring. Therefore the brand keeps defending the current market by using advertising, maternity wards engagement and promotions. In addition to this, Pampers must expand total market by promoting product-brands and expand market share. For a leader to protect its position against challengers, it requires innovation, choices, price cuts, expansion distribution channel, and intense promotional efforts. Pampers has a lot to do.

Huggies is a major competitor of Pampers. The Huggies brand sells intrinsic value, driving a unique proposition that goes beyond form and functionality. For Huggies, functionality is the basics, while the “feeling” is the product. Huggies sells “self-esteem” to moms as a product. Huggies flew over Physiological Needs in the Maslow’s Hierarchy and offers the baby “class” and the mother, “pride”. As a blogger puts it: “Huggies babies were more posh… a thing of class”. Because of this, those who use Huggies have so much affinity for the brand and they are always pleased to show off the diaper at every opportunity.

These moms are proud to change their baby’s diapers in the public, they paid for it! Huggies is a nicher and a strong brand in this market. It is therefore exposed to less threat. Huggies does not control this market and it cannot be controlled by it. The target of the brand is a segment of the market with a strategic profiling: middle-upper class, business-professional moms. As long as Huggies remain a quasi-luxury brand, they would keep buying. Huggies’ brand statement: “let the second hug come from us” has said enough that all you get is a diaper that emote. As a nicher, Huggies is an end-user specialist and is focused on wallet share, rather than market share. The concept is “having 100 per cent of few pockets rather than having one per cent of many households”.

Molfix is a low-cost diaper brand, produced by Hayat Kimya Nigeria Ltd. Molfix is cheaper and significantly offers quality products. It is also presently competing with Pampers in terms of national distribution and is positioned as a challenger. To be able to challenge the market leader, Molfix invested $100 million dollars into production, erecting an ultra modern diaper/tissue factory in Agbara Industrial Layout, Ogun State – a facility that was inaugurated on June 1, 2017.

The challenger brand is expected to choose general attack strategies as well as specific attack strategies. In terms of price strategy, Molfix is doing well in offering lower prices for quality products. The best way to challenge a leader is to drag it into a price war, while initiating backward integration to cut cost. With the cutting edge technology of Molfix, plus the fact that the company generates its own power, cost of production is lower and there is more control on pricing. This is competition!

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Luvs have been introduced into Nigeria through the online shopping stores. The brand was created in 1976 in the United States, as a premium diaper. Presently, Luv is being positioned as the cheapest anti leaking diaper. Nigerians are yet to understand this product and it is not being promoted to the mainstream. The positioning of Luvs in the market is yet to be understood. There is another product being merchandised online, Chocco Diaper, a product imported from India.

Forecasting the future

P&G’s new brands – both the Pampers Baby Dry and the Pampers Premium – could have raised the cost of production. We should also note that cost of raw materials rose as a result of forex instability. For the leader, the proposition of “low-cost efficient brands” must have been challenging. Euro-monitor’s research shows that Pampers had loses in volume and value last year but was able to keep 60% of the market share. Pampers will soon be attracting new users; new moms who had no previous experience of diapers. Frequency of use is another approach to increasing volume; the demographic of moms who reuse diapers will offer low volume. Thus, the Leader will less likely explore price cut; the brand is an asset for market share expansion.

Huggies will always remain what it is – a diaper that hugs tight, and makes the mother proud. The manufacturer, Kimberly-Clark, will eventually extend Huggies rewards to Nigeria. And the brand may soon be involved in events, sponsorships and promotions. Nichers are exposed to two threats – the fact that a Follower may clone the product-brand of the Nicher and also the fact that the Leader may expand its product portfolio to include that particular niche. What happened to Alomo bitters was that new entrants came into the niche it pioneered. That was possible because the Nicher did not defend the niche; there was no promotion, no advertising and no events. Huggies will take steps to become synonymous to the niche and grow its wallet share. When you leave a gap, others come in to fill it.

Molfix has taken a bold investment decision, and it can only continue to be daring. The brand is engaging moms on social media and may soon initiate promotions that will drive loyalty and frequency of use. Obviously, Molfix refrains from being a Follower – unlike Techno is to Nokia and Infinix is to Samsung. Being a Follower is also a strategy but a Challenger is a brand ready to take Market Leadership. In challenging the Leader, the manufacturer of Molfix will eventually start promoting its hygienic pad, Molped, as the Leader also has product line for hygienic pads. Expect some event sponsorships and celebrity endorsement from the Challenger. 


Competitiveness will bring new product developments, choices for consumers and prosperity for humanity. The diaper market will grow bigger in potentials and value, due to urbanization and globalization. Change is what is constant and the future is full of uncertainty. As P & G set out in 1950s to change the culture, converting cloth-diaper to disposable diaper, so also more brands are setting new trends with new products. However, culture is setting the pace for innovations in the 21st century, and we can only expect smart diapers!

Written By: Olufemi Babalogbon