A Look at the UK Market

Make Time for Tech

In the wake of a slightly improved economic environment in early 2018 and, in theory at least, greater disposable income for UK customers, technology-driven products within the babycare market have managed to deliver a strong performance in the past year.

Both the baby monitor and digital thermometer markets rose in value over the last 12mths as consumers continue to be increasingly keen to adopt the latest technologies on the market.

The baby monitor market rose up by an impressive 5% overall, reaching a record £29.5m value sales over the 12mths to April 2018. While this remains lower than the market peak in 2015/2016 (when it reached £30.7m) it is still a positive story given the recent economic uncertainties and declines the market has seen across a number of other technology-specific sectors. Much of this growth has been given by a sharp increase in the average selling price of the individual products, which rose by 9% to reach an average of £65.

Two technologies in particular have helped spark this trend; cameras and the ability to connect to a smartphone app. Consumers are increasingly willing to upgrade their baby monitors and spend more money on premium models which come with integrated cameras. With an average selling price of £93, these models recorded a value growth of 13% - which is even more impressive when compared to models without a camera, which sold at an average of £33 and saw a significant 15% decline in value sales.

Secondly, value sales of smart baby monitors which allow connection to a mobile device - either phone or tablet - rose by 37% over the same period. Sales of these now account for 11% of all value sales in the monitor sector. In this case the average price premium is even greater, with a £70 gap between smart (£131) and non-connected models (£61), the latter of which achieved only a small value increase.

Meanwhile, the digital thermometer market (which includes both baby and non-baby specific products) has seen widespread growth across both model ranges. The value of the overall market increased by 22% to £12.5m as both the infra-red and digital stick categories saw double digit rises. Smart and connected models once again have a significant role to play in this boost, although in this case that accounts for a much smaller percentage of market value, at just 2%.

Nevertheless, the smart thermometer sector itself saw overall growth of 85% and with a steadily falling average selling price the potential is certainly there for a stronger uptake of this technology among consumers over the coming years.

When comparing this combined performance against other babycare product areas, it is clear to see the rising impact of the technology - driven categories on the total market - currently only highchairs and soothers have managed to achieve faster value growth rates.

Despite the obvious economic pressures on spending, consumers have not been shying away from spending premium amounts of money on the latest technology over recent years, whether that is for a smartphone or hairdryer - and it is quite clear that the babycare industry is no exception to that.

Keep a lookout for some amazing tech from bébélephant later this year!

We are grateful to GfK for this research.