What does it take to win the baby pound?

The blows to the UK high street keep coming and recently with force to maternity and infant retailers, so we asked our panel of parents, and parents to be what their current purchase behaviour and decision making is within this market to see what we can learn.

1.’Showrooming’ for the best deal – an all too familiar behaviour is becoming ingrained, consumers going in-store to decide but then buying elsewhere online to get the best deal or gain loyalty points. Retailers now need a savvy ‘bricks & clicks’ model that means deciding in-store or visiting a baby event but is equally rewarded via loyalty online.

John Lewis and H&M are doing this well for our panelists in the infant market.

2. Loyalty schemes, points, and rewards are a big deal to parents of young children, especially as they feel they are constantly buying. So being part of a parenting club that rewards and provides deals and great delivery makes a significant difference. Boots is doing this well for parents.

3. Preloved baby market – We are beginning to hear more and more that the second-hand market is getting the baby pound via eBay, Shpock, charity shops, friends and family and Facebook groups. So how can retailers get in on this growing trend? Recycling old for new would be welcome.

4. A market of two halves – Big maternity and infant retailers no longer dominate the market; it’s a diverse busy scene from the supermarkets to the bespoke niche players. The supermarket’s ranges are loved by many and consumers now even differentiate based on the name of the baby brand or range e.g. F&F or Billie’s range from George. Plus bespoke players such as JoJo Maman Bebe and Frugi.

Overall parents needed to feel like they are ‘winning’ and gaining something that was valuable to them, more than the standard. Whether that is a great deal, superb quality, exclusivity, ethical, supporting local, loyalty rewards, ease of delivery and return or being ahead of trend. Retailers have to be feeding and delivering on a need.

Mothercare, although still loved, for many was too ‘meh’ and didn’t really deliver that major win that consumers now need and expect. The middle ground is going and retailers really have to deliver on stand out wins.


*Survey conducted with The Family Panel in November 2019 with 1,116 parents completing the survey. The Family Panel has an independent base of over 40,000 UK families – parents, grandparents, kids 0-18 and teachers and wider family organisations whom we work with from concept testing to sense check surveys to ethnographic research.