A Look at the UK Market

An Open Opportunity

As GfK began preparing for their seminar which took place at this year's Harrogate International Nursery Fair, it became increasingly obvious to their researchers that growth within the £92m nursery sector is finally slowing down.

With a decline showing right across the January and February 2017 sales figures, the start of the year has been a sombre one, with unavoidably disappointing results. With parents feeling the economic pressure and inflation creeping up, GfK clearly see the sale of non-essential baby products stalling. 

However, this means that there is an opportunity within the retail sector to work with the manufacturers in order to provide the best deals that parents can buy.

Retail is Changing

Consumers are changing the way they shop. Armed with a smartphone, reading reviews online and comparing in-store pricing to online, retail is becoming truly omnichannel.

Parents expect to be able to shop the same way for their babies and toddlers. One third of sales within the industry categories (which includes strollers, car seats, baby monitors, highchairs, bottle/breast feeding, soothers, teethers and toddler feeding) are now made online, with purchases for a number of essential products growing to the extent that they are beginning to outpace in-store sales. For example, while sales of video monitors are declining within bricks-and-mortar stores, online sales of the high-tech safety devices have grown 42%.

However, this has not has an impact on Black Friday sales throughout the wider nursery sector. While the nursery retailers are following the example of their CE counterparts, Black Friday has not yet been adopted whole-heartedly.

A New Dimension

As Anthony Williams from GfK highlighted during his Harrogate presentation "The nursery sector is in a unique position to add a new dimension to the nursery experience - this could be developmental or multi-stage. It could be done by choosing a hero product or bolt-on bundle deals to maximise sales. Ranging on the shelves is also a good option, based on the developmental need for the nursery shoppers.

"Retailers can also benefit from the 10% rule. The uplift seen in sales from a 10% discount has been bigger than when deeper discounts are offered. Consumer decision making is becoming more budgetcentric, however, it is also more considered and parents are happy to trade up when they perceive a deal offering more value for money." 

We are grateful to GfK for this research.