The current threatening economic climate is not stopping people from having children, according to research from the UK-based parenting club, Bounty, which reports that having a new baby is actually helping many modern mothers to cope with the credit crunch.
Last year, figures showed that the UK birth rate increased by 3.24% - the biggest annual increase since 1979. This year the birth rate is forecast to rise from 779,112, to 815,057 (the seventh annual increase in row).
Research carried out by Bounty among 3,000 mothers supports the latest 'baby boom' theory, with more than half saying that the financial downturn would not affect any decisions they would make with regards to starting or extending their family, and with 20% saying that they are planning to conceive this year.
For marketers of child care and family brands, this is an interesting phenomenon, and one that bodes well for the medium-term future. The research found that mothers are actually coping better than other consumers with the tougher economic climate.
For example, when asked how they were feeling about family finances:
- 39% said they were confident and that, while money is a bit tight they will still manage;
- 23% said their family was fine, happy, and going along as usual;
- 20% said they were taking steps to cut back;
- 18% said they were under pressure financially.
According to research from Mintel, British mothers spend an estimated 3.5 billion on baby consumables each year, and 38 billion across all parenting categories. In addition, every 1% increase in the birth rate adds another 25 million in turnover in the grocery sector alone.
Bounty's research also suggests that motherhood also represents a key time for brands outside the core baby category, as this is a time when brand trial and brand promiscuity is heightened. Examples of this behaviour include the hair and skincare categories, in which women spend more on products during pregnancy. At the same time, their new and changing needs prompt both product and brand re-evaluation in other sectors such as health and beauty, laundry, and household cleaning.
The research also found that women who are mothers are now spending more on themselves as well as their family as they increasingly realise that treats are important to help avoid 'doom and gloom'.