A Look at the UK Market

BABY-CARE: Expensive Taste and Smart Tech

as published by GfK in February 2022 Progressive Preschool

The baby care market matched the wider UK economy in continuing to recover through 2021. Total sales value rose 12% over January to October 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with volume sales also up 4%. At same time, value over the year-to-date remain 17% down on 2019 figures prior to the impact of the pandemic and various lockdowns, showing how there remains a long way to go to a full recovery.

Despite the total baby care market still being in recovery, we are starting to see a number of categories outperforming their year-to-date value from 2019.The Highchairs category has seen the most extreme growth with value uplift of 20%, a growth that we have discussed previously. The next highest performing categories are Monitors and Bottle Warmers & Sterilisers which have both seen a 7% value growth over the year-to-date. And finally, smaller wins for the Teether market which saw a 5% value growth and Breastfeeding which saw a 3% value growth.

All of these categories have also seen average expenditure Increase , with consumers moving towards premium brands and spending 23% more than they were in 2019.

As we moved towards the end of 2021, we saw consumers slowly return to the High Street but online spending was still the favoured option with 54% of the value year-to-date going through online sales. This is still higher than the same period in 2019 which only saw 40% of value going through online purchases.

Smart Moves

Baby Monitors is a category where value has been gradually growing for the last three years. The biggest shift has been in smart monitors which has seen the fastest growing value share, currently holding year-to-date 32% of the monitors market compared with 23% in 2020 and 14% in 2019. With more people moving towards smart household tech, smart baby monitors have become increasingly popular.

The category value has increased 45% on 2020, with the average spend being around £138. However, with this increase in smart monitors we are seeing losses elsewhere, Video Monitors seeing the biggest impact, with a recorded 17% loss in value. More affordable categories like Analogue and Digital Audio Monitors are continuing to hold steady, but have a smaller value share in the market.

Briefly focusing on some other categories where consumers are increasing their average expenditure, a category which we have not yet mentioned  is Strollers. Over the last year, consumers spent 22% more on a stroller year-to-date than they were in 2020, with average expenditure now being £287. In particular, we have seen the biggest movements in Travel Systems 3-in-1, with the average spend year-to-date in 2020 of £311 compared to £549 in 2021, a 77% growth. Over the year, models with the price point over £800 have seen at the biggest rise as consumers move towards premium brands. However, with rising prices and headline inflation growth, the volume of these top end purchases may start to fall as we move deeper into 2022.

With continuing price and tax hikes along with stock issues, there are many challenges facing consumers, this may trigger consumers to revert to lockdown buying behaviours. Top line baby care will continue its recovery in 2022 but a return to pre-Covid spending levels looks set to take a little longer.

We are grateful to GfK for this research.

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