Whatever the UK economy may be doing, the fact is people go on having babies. Over the last few fears Baby & Kids has been consistently one of the best performing parts of the typical supermarket’s business, supported by a combination of big brands and pioneering companies offering innovation.
The number of babies being born in the EU has dropped since the financial crash, but the UK has bucked the trend, with soaring birth rates particularly in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. British women are having two babies each on average – more than the rest of the EU. London is now seeing more babies born per 1,000 of the population anywhere in Europe, according to the EU’s official statistics body.
The rising birth rate is driven by large numbers of women in their 20s and 30s becoming mothers, along with an increase in the number of migrant families. A growing child population, with parents’ average age and hence available income rising, means the UK baby and kids market will continue to grow in value, good news all round for retailers.
Looking at ‘Baby & Kids’ products as a whole, children’s OTC medicine is an area where multiple grocers do well but could nevertheless raise their game. Many big supermarkets merchandise their OTC medicines in self-selection areas near the in-store pharmacy. This provides parents with access to advice from the pharmacy staff and gives them confidence to give their baby relief from symptoms from common ailments without the hassle of involving the GP or nurse. Converting increased consumer confidence into increased consumer take off will be crucial to expanding the children’s OTC market going forward.
Our increasingly multicultural environment offers opportunities for retailers to add diversity to their product range, with baby product innovations aimed at different population groups.
But the real clincher in the Baby & Kids market is to deliver convenience. As hard working parents with young families will confirm, anything that makes it easier to shop for essentials for babies and kids is a bonus for consumers, and will be welcomed with open arms. That goes for cheaper nappies in store; a full selection of baby and children’s medicines at the local supermarket; or a broad ranging baby and toddler equipment service online. This is an area where the supermarkets and co-ops continue to do well, with extended hours, on-line shopping and home delivery. The task of shopping for baby and kids is less painful than a generation ago. Today’s parents are more demanding than ever, expecting the best for their babies at the best prices.