BEIJING: China’s parents are starting to embrace the notion of having more than one child, a development which may require brands to reconsider some aspects of their current marketing approach, new research suggests.

Figures from the National Health and Family Planning Commission have indicated that around six in ten births in the first five months of 2017 involved a second child.

This follows an extension of the government’s second child policy in early 2016 to permit all couples to have two children (previously this dispensation was limited to those couples were one parent was an only child).

And many of these second-time mothers are over 35, the All-China Women’s Federation reported, numbering around 3m.

"Surveys show that many couples from the generation born in the 1970s, who were hesitant about having a second child during the initial period when the universal second-child policy was adopted, are now hurrying to give birth to a second child so they won't miss that last chance," said Ma Xiaowei, a vice-minister of the Commission.

Separate research from GroupM China, which surveyed 2,209 women of child-bearing age for its 2017 Mother and Child Report, found that that 46% who already had a child were considering having a second.

While an increase in births – the total was up 7.8% in the first five months of 2017 – will lead to an increase in sales of baby products, GroupM noted that second-time mothers would have different spending habits to new mothers.

They are less likely to be influenced by marketing as their purchasing behaviour has already been shaped by previous brand experiences, Campaign Asia-Pacific reported. And they are more open to using second-hand products, particularly baby strollers and toys.

Mobile is a vital channel for reaching any mother – three quarters consumed media on mobile, compared to 12% on TV and 3.5% on desktop – but health concerns can affect the amount of time spent here.

Around one in three expectant mothers in the first trimester of their pregnancies indicated they would reduce screen time over concern for possible effects on the unborn child. That figure declined as the pregnancy progressed.

The ad format most favoured by respondents was articles with illustrations, which were almost twice as popular as videos (81.5% v 45.8%).

Data sourced from All-China Women’s Federation, Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by WARC staff