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First signs of predicted royal baby boom emerge online

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The first signs of the predicted royal baby retail boom are emerging online.

News of the birth of the 8lb 6oz baby boy, born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at 4.24pm yesterday, started to emerge at about 8.30pm last night. Some 90 minutes later, the first Royal Baby-themed promotional emails were hitting inboxes.

A mini-retail boom has been predicted as a result of the royal birth. The Centre for Retail Research has said it expects the event to trigger spending put at £243m over a period of eight weeks. Of that, it expects that £87m to be spent celebrating the birth, £80m on souvenirs (£56m) and toys (£24m) and £76m on DVDs, books and media. Some £37m is predicted for overseas sales, which will include those made online by UK retailers.

It also expects manufacturers of the royal baby buggy to do strong business, with pushchair sales as a whole expected to rise by 13%. Gains are also expected for the manufacturers behind the royal baby clothes, toys and other products.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), has described the event as a feel-good one that promotes extra sales. But, he said: “Much of this can be attributed to retailers increased marketing and advertising activity around the time of the event, quite rightly securing their share of the spending frenzy. These are difficult times for retailers and every catalyst for consumer spending shoud be utilized as this will bring the economic recovery one step closer.”

Early Learning Centre was fast off the blocks last night to claim its share of that £24m expected to be spent on toys, with a promotional email for its gender-neutral Royal Baby Happyland set, featuring William and Kate lookalike figures together with a royal pram, which hit email boxes shortly after 10pm last night. Truprint followed this morning today with news of a 24-hour royal baby flash sale, and many more retail offers will be expected in coming days. But its email was half an hour behind rival Kiddicare, which started the celebrations on Facebook, sending out a ‘Welcome to the world’ congratulations email that hit inboxes at about 9.30pm.

Today display and media retargeting company Rakuten MediaForge has released research showing that UK parents are willing to spend significantly on their children, with one in six mothers willing to spend more than £100 on a single item of designer clothing and with the buggy being the major item of expenditure. The royal birth is likely to inspire more sales. The study also found that while Victoria Beckham’s daughter Harper was currently the most-admired celebrity baby, followed by Jules and Jamie Oliver’s children, Kate Middleton was the mum other mothers would most like to see design or collaborate on a new line of clothing.

Mark Haviland, managing director at Rakuten Marketing, said: “This is an exciting time for the Prince and Princess, and thanks to them, it is for the baby wear and fashion industry as well. Kate Middleton is already a style icon for women around the world and as celebrity mums continue to inspire shoppers, the online channel will become increasingly powerful for marketers.

“As it stands 96% of mums shop for their children online with over half (57%) getting inspiration from social discovery sites like Pinterest and networks like Facebook and Twitter. We wish them well in the coming days and look forward to celebrating a happy and healthy (and stylish) mother and baby.”

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