A Look at the UK Market

Difficult Decisions for First Time Parents

as published by GfK in August 2023 Progressive Preschool

In June 2023, the total market for Baby Care started to decline versus the period January to June 2022. At a topline level, total market value remained flat year on year, but continued to be 8% behind its pre-COVID position in 2019.

Volume sales continued to decline, dropping 9% when comparing January to June 2023 against the same period last year. Volume is now 26% behind 2019.

The average price for a Baby Care product continued to rise, up 10% versus 2022. However, not all of this increase is due to inflation as consumers shift to premium brands and products.

The majority of the volume in Baby Care is still purchased in store, but only 51% of the value is accounted for by these purchases.

In-store value was up 41% in the last six months., online value was also up, but only by 12%.

In-store volume is falling slower than online, down 6%, while online has declined 8% year on year.

First Year Costs

It is well known that having a baby is expensive, and for first time parents costs can quickly mount. The average price for basic supplies in year one of a baby’s life as tracked by GfK totals approximately £1,705. This is based on average prices over the last six months, which is up 6% on the same period in 2022 – not quite as high as we report at a total market level for a baby product.

This is the cost for one child (based on products for newborns and the first year of life: 10 bottles with teats, a car seat with a base, a high chair, baby monitor, 8 soothers, 2 teethers, bottle warmer, bottle steriliser, stroller, breast pump, 3 tubes of nipple cream and nursing pads three a day for 180 days). This figure excludes the nappies, clothing and furniture that parents will also need to buy. The most expensive items are a car seat and a stroller. However, basic supplies to care for and protect Mum can also quickly add up if you are using disposable nursing pads and nipple creams.

When The Second Baby Comes Along

Having a second child increases costs further, but not all products may need to be purchased again. Clothes, furniture, and even items such as soothers and bottles can be reused. However, parents may need to purchase additional car seats, which could be costly if a second base is also required. This alone can increase costs by up to 50%. Parents may also choose to change their current stroller to a double – or may just want to have an additional stroller which will increase prices again.

Upgrading To The ‘Best’

Parents also have a number of other factors to consider. When purchasing car seats for any height/weight, parents will pay on average 104% more to upgrade from an R44 seat to an R129. To scale up from a digital audio only baby monitor to a smart monitor with app compatibility comes in at an average of 460% extra. The move from plastic to alternative materials like wood and silicone can also be very costly. Prices for eco-friendly highchairs are 167% hot higher, and shoppers can expect to pay 71% more for ‘green’ tableware and 192% more for teethers.

Outlook for the rest of 2023

For the remainder of the year, GfK expects the market to decline in terms of volume. Value will remain stable if price inflation continues, but as we approach year end, we forecast value to decline. Premium products and brands will continue to be popular with consumers. And we expect spending at this end of the market to continue, especially if parents want the best money can buy.

 We are grateful to GfK for this research.

Sign In