The Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge is just over a week old and the media are so far respecting the private wishes of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But how long will it be until the public see the new mother out with her new-born son?
An Ipsos Mori poll in November last year showed that nine in ten people were satisfied with the job the Queen was doing as Monarch, with Prince William voted as the favourite Royal (62 per cent.) Public confidence in the long-term future of the Royal family was at a 20 year high then and it is perfectly possible that the Royal’s ratings could now be even higher.
At the peak of activity at the Royal birth, there were about 25,300 tweets per minute exchanged on Twitter, so the stage is very well set for Prince George to be in the public eye for many years to come. It also has been reported that the Royal Baby could be worth £250m to the economy in souvenirs and memorabilia alone.
But how long is a baby a baby? There is an amazing opportunity for retailers, as Prince George will be followed throughout his childhood, teenage years and into young adulthood and probably beyond, although media guidelines on where and when the Prince can be photographed during his childhood will limit exposure. The toys, games and the outfits will all be watched with clamouring fashion by mass media and it is clear that he will be a trendsetter for the present generation for parents with young children.
Antonia Branston, Senior Retail Analyst at Euromonitor, told Retail Gazette: “The initial feel good factor surrounding the birth will be short-term but there may be other similar surges of interest in the future, such as when the royal baby has his christening ceremony. The Prince is applicable to everyone and any business can find their own Royal niche.
“The Royal couple’s stated ambition to give their son as normal an upbringing as possible may also have a retailing side effect. Kate has already made a reputation for herself of being a supporter of Britain’s high street shops; if she continues this into babywear and equipment, her product choices should be accessible to a wide spectrum of parent-shoppers.”
And so the Royal baby brand-wagon begins. Less than 24 hours after the royal birth was announced, Marks & Spencer sold 1,500 limited edition collectors’ commemorative Scottish shortbread tins for £20 in store. The retailer have also started selling coronation paper crowns and tiaras, baby bibs and greeting cards to celebrate the birth. Surprisingly, Fortnum & Mason, a royal favourite for years, hasn’t stocked up on any unique Prince George memorabilia – yet.
So far The Duchess has received mainly exclusive and custom made products that are not available to buy on the market such as a GH Hurt & Son and Co muslin shawl and a custom made blue polka dot dress by Jenny Packham. The Royal couple also received a custom made Gothic oak cradle from Polish designer Dariusz Bergie.
Whatever she buys next for her little Prince, it could be a pushchair, a swing, toys, games or a bicycle- the possibilities are almost endless. Retailers need to be prepared for the inevitable spike in demand in products.
And what parenting book will Kate and William go for? Childcare and support for parents is big business. Childcare guru Noel Janis-Norton, who wrote ‘Calmer, Easier Parenting’ last year, has proved a hit with A-List celebrities such as Helena Bonham Carter who says the parenting technique championed by Norton has taken “all the stress out of parenting.”
It is worth pondering the depth and breadth of a child’s life and how retail can benefit.
Mike Barnes, head of retail sales at SecureTrading, commented on the benefits of the royal baby for the retail sector. “Retailers selling products with a direct link to the royal baby, such as souvenirs and collectors items, will clearly benefit most in terms of increased revenue. Also, any retailers lucky enough to sell items actually used by the royal baby or Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will no doubt see sales rocket.
“Still, the birth of the royal baby isn’t just great news for those selling items with a connection to babies or the royal family, but it’s an exciting opportunity for all retailers, both on the high street and online, to think outside the box and find clever ways to cash in on the new arrival.
He added: “Any retailers that want to ride the crest of the wave need to realise that the manufacturing and delivery of these products is time sensitive. Therefore, an efficient supply chain and a quick turnaround is essential when producing and selling these types of items.”
However, you wouldn’t begrudge baby George if he ends up giving the finger to retailers altogether. After all, what we are discussing is a week year old baby who is very precious to his parents.