After the announcement by Clarence House yesterday that Kate Middleton was expecting her second child, we take a look at the potential boost of another Royal baby to the retail sector. Speculation surrounding the birth of Prince George had a dramatic impact on the retail sector, as his mother’s dedicated fashion following appeared to show as much interest in her choice of clothing for her son as for herself.
In the weeks and months leading up to the birth of Baby George, fans of the monarchy closely monitored Kate’s purchases, dramatically increasing both foot traffic and sales of anything baby-related, from “bassinets to Bugaboos”. The prediction of Pauline Maclaran, professor of marketing and consumer research at the University of London, that “mothers will rush to copy what Kate chooses for her baby”, proved to be accurate.
Indeed, George became something of a “sartorial superstar in his own right” and a website, WhatPrinceGeorgeWore.com, was set up for the “trendsetter” prince to mimic his mother’s WhatKateWore.com.
The New York Times even started referring to a ‘Prince George Effect’ in reference to the ‘Kate Effect’ attributed to his mother, whereby every item of clothing she wore immediately sold out. This appeared to be justified when a pair of George’s shoes, his Early Days prewalkers, quickly sold out according to The Times. One of his most famous outfits, the sailboat overalls, sold out “in a few hours, maybe less than that,” according to the outfit’s designer Rachel Riley.
Anything related to the royal baby has seen a surge in sales, from upmarket South Kensington baby boutique Blue Almonds, where Kate was spotted leaving with a wicker Moses basket costing £265, to Tesco’s F&F Royal Baby line, which saw sales increase by 163 per cent.
The Centre for Retail Research estimated last month that so-called ‘George mania’ was worth £243 million to the economy between the beginning of July and the end of August this year. The prospect of a second royal child, therefore, will no doubt delight retailers hoping to profit from the baby’s birth, ranging from Marks & Spencer’s personalised shortbread tin to Bridgewater commemorative mugs.
The news of a second child was made public prior to the normal 12 week mark because of the Duchess’s acute morning sickness, which has meant she has had to cancel certain public appearances. The prospect of a sister for Prince George could have an even more spectacular effect on the performance of relevant retail departments.