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Charlotte Elizabeth Diana
The New Royal Baby - estimates of impact on retail UK
The Centre for Retail Research, Nottingham, has estimated that retail spending arising from the birth of the second child of Katherine and William, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will be £80 million. This is rather less than our estimate two year's ago for Prince George's birth, which was £247 million.
Whilst certain newspapers went on to use our estimate to show that the new baby would be a 'flop' this is not our view. Indeed no wanted new baby can be described as a flop. It is not the purpose of monarchy to support the retail trade.
Although most people are naturally interested in the birth of a new child, we found that only around 15% of people questioned expected to mark the birth in some way, by buying a souvenir or providing or being part of a special celebratory occasion. Neither the Royal Family nor politicians have called for public celebrations of the new baby, but that it should be treated as a family affair. Our research certainly confirms this.
Our £80 million estimate relates to spending in the two months around the birth (four weeks before and four weeks after). Our understanding is that spending on souvenirs such as DVDs, ceramic mugs and teapots, coins and tokens, and memorabilia in the form of books will constitute £27 million. We expect food such themed cakes, and meal extras will be worth £25 million. About £28 million of alcohol will be drunk in celebration in the form of prosecco, champagne, wine, whisky, beer and other drinks.
The estimate is derived from:
- Consumer survey: questions asked of 1,000 shoppers about whether they expected to mark the birth of Kate and William's new baby and how they might do so. We asked amongst other things how confident they felt about their personal finances, their use of online technology, mobile phones and payment systems, about the likelihood they would buy something to mark the birth of Royal Baby 2 or to celebrate the birth at home or in another place as part of a special occasion.
- Retailer survey: questions put to 100 major retailers (as part of a larger survey) about how the birth of the royal baby might affect them and what preparations they have put in place (if any) to profit from consumer interest. Those retailers employed 380,000 staff and represented 21% of UK retailing so were a decent sample of the UK retail sector.
The new baby has been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana and is fourth in line to the throne, formally Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, the Centre's Director, has also suggested that if the new baby is a girl the longer-term implications for the UK babywear, childrenswear, teens and fashion business could be worth £150 million per annum as what the new baby wears will be studied and emulated by parents all over the world. This depends of course on British designers rising to the opportunity.
The Centre for Retail Research carries out major studies into retail trends, including the growth of online retailing and crime, and has provided estimates for several royal events including the Royal Wedding, the Queen's Jubilee, the and the birth of Prince George. The Centre for Retail Research has been in separate existence since 1997.
We do not intent to do any further research on Princess Charlotte. The Centre provided these estimates for the media at their request to help them consider the short and long-term impact of the royal baby. It may be surprising to some that a single baby can have such an effect on retail sales, but that is the way the world is. No doubt there are plenty of more rational methods to constitute a political system. The British system of government changes only slowly, and one should recognise that there are benefits in continuity and good order and that rapid change does not necessarily produce rapid improvement. Our role is to assess and forecast future trends in retailing and not to pollute these independent forecasts with party-political views.