Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]10bn Luxurymarket That's Just Kids' Stuff

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]10bn Luxurymarket That's Just Kids' Stuff

Article excerpt

BIRTHRATES are declining across the Western world but the luxury baby business is worth billions - and set to double in the next five years.

Figures out today showed that the luxury market for children's goods tops [pounds sterling]10 billion worldwide and is set to double in five years.

As parents, their relatives and friends are getting older and more affluent and the number of babies to dote on shrinks, the result has been a massive boom in highend products for infants.

London is at the epicentre of this boom as wealthy parents lavish gifts, accessories and other absurdly luxurious items on babies and toddlers.

Baby Dior makes tiny fur slippers for newborns and white moccasins at nearly [pounds sterling]70 a pair for toddlers, while Tiffany markets a sterling silver rattle as a baptismal gift that costs nearly [pounds sterling]200 and Hermes offers its own exclusively-priced version of a rocking horse for more than [pounds sterling]600.

British marque Burberry thinks that babies should smell like "citrus aromas, wild mint, a touch of Lily of the Valley, rhubarb jelly, verbena and vanilla".

At least, those are the ingredients in its new "Baby Touch" perfume, which retails at [pounds sterling]30 for a 100 millilitre flask.

Shoppers are also keen on buying smaller chi-chi brands - a factor that has seen new shops springing up across London's wealthiest areas. One such is Marie-Chantal in Chelsea, which sells cashmere baby jumpers and diamond children's necklaces for [pounds sterling]600.

Retail manager Amy Jones, said: "Our sales have been so good that we've just opened a second store in Notting Hill and have plans for several more."

Hans-Georg Hausel, a psychologist who advises international companies on how to position their products, said: "Children are becoming increasingly precious and expensive,because nowadays they serve as symbols of their parents' wealth.

A well-dressed child is a reflection of one's own lifestyle." The luxury segment may be tricky, says Hausel, but it is certainly one in which there is plenty of money to be made. Sales of the Baby Dior brand alone have increased by 60% in the past three years.

Parents are not the only ones buying.

Grandparents with only one grandchild to spoil and - especially - friends with no children of their own have a propensity for buying high-ticketgifts. It is a phenomenon known in the business as "compensatory consumption".

No end is in sight to the spending spree.

This year's "Child & Youth" convention in Cologne - one of Europe's hottest childfashion fairs - drew a record number of visitors looking for the latest in toys, sheets and strollers.

The new industry analysis was conducted by the German Textiles Retailers Association.

BIRTHRATES are declining across the Western world but the luxury baby business is worth billions - and set to double in the next five years. …

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