With the second royal baby to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge due any day now, speculation is reaching a fever pitch, not more so than whether the new addition will be a boy or girl, or how he or she will be dressed. Bookies have given favourable odds for a baby girl, with Alice, Charlotte and Elizabeth as popular name guesses. Descended from a long line of stylish, iconic women, the arrival of a little girl to the family has been suggested as being worth up to £1 billion across her lifetime, particularly benefiting fashion and retail industries.
Since the arrival of Prince George in 2013, retailers have been inundated with demand from parents keen to replicate the young royal’s look, which is invariably an extension of his mother’s style and tastes. When he was born, £247 million surged into the economy; the new baby is expected to prompt an £80 million boost via retail sources immediately following the birth. Although there has been markedly less excitement compared to the build-up to Prince George’s birth, the gender of the baby could determine the amount of money contributed to the UK economy during his or her life.
Within the childrenswear retail sector, infantwear (newborns and under 5s) has seen the most consistent and best performing trends in sales in recent years. The continued performance of this sector prompting a move toward children’s ranges by Stella McCartney, Gucci and Burberry among a number of fashion houses expanding their collections. The boom in sales of baby clothes and lifestyle products is an inevitable by-product of a royal birth, further trend-setting could take place throughout that child’s life if the baby is female. Professor Joshua Bamfield of the Centre for Retail Research has also suggested that the birth of a little girl could inspire people to own new businesses catering to public demands to emulate royal style.
A 2011 report by consumer research group Mintel found that the childrenswear sector was dominated by supermarket and value retailers, reflecting the desire by parents to buy frequently, conveniently and cheaply. The report further suggested that customers were less likely to shop in specialist baby stores, however, following the birth of Prince George, independent designs came to the forefront of fashion consciousness with demand for more niche pieces alongside the easily accessible high street products favoured by Kate Middleton.
Prince or princess, the latest addition to William and Kate’s family will undoubtedly be a stylish one.