“No doubt that parents across the spectrum select products that allow their children to be safer, while also making their own lives easier. Within juvenile products, there is big opportunity to grow the business by marrying consumer values with unique product attributes,” said Juli Lennett, senior vice president, U.S. toys and juvenile products industry analyst, The NPD Group.
Safety is the smallest of the six juvenile product categories tracked by NPD, but it is growing the fastest, driven by sales of baby gates (+8 percent). Looking at safety-related features across categories, five-point harnesses comprise the bulk of high chair sales, but also grew (+9 percent), while three-point harness sales declined (-2 percent). The average retail price of the five-point type is more than 2.5 times higher than its three-point counterpart.
When it comes to portability, compact/foldable stroller sales grew by 2 percent while the non-folding types declined by 7 percent. Non-foldable/portable bouncers make up the majority of bouncer sales; however, these types experienced a 6 percent decrease in sales, while foldable/portable grew by 14 percent.
For multistage use, convertible high chairs comprise most of the sales and grew by 9 percent, while non-convertible varieties declined by 2 percent. Convertible car seats drove the gains for the car seat category, with sales up 8 percent, while non-convertible sales were down 2 percent.
National population statistics may offer some additional insight into factors that are playing into the trends. For example, though U.S. births by women under age 30 have declined in recent years, the rate has grown for women aged 30-44**. In terms of income, women’s median weekly earnings are shown to be highest for those between 35-44 years old***.
“The shift in ages and wages influences consumer shopping patterns when it comes to what juvenile products they are purchasing. Older mothers with higher spending power present a potential growth opportunity for this industry,” said Lennett. “With more money in their wallets, consumers can take their expectations a step further, by seeking more premium products and those with additional features.”
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 12 months ending August 2017
**Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
***Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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