Royal baby fever set to boost economy
Even the Royal Family is joining in with the launch of baby products from the Royal Collection Trust for sale at palace shops and online
The worldwide buzz surrounding the the first child of William and Katherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is expected to lift UK retail sales in a similar way to the royal couple's wedding in 2011.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, Director of Centre for Retail Research (CRR) comments: "It is no great surprise that this type of feel good event provides retailers with a welcome boost, with consumer hype generating additional spending.
"These are difficult times for retailers and every catalyst for consumer spending should be utilised as this will bring the economic recovery one step closer."
Spend spend spend
Around £25 million is expected to be spent on festivities celebrating the birth, with consumers splashing out on champagne and party food for informal garden parties at home.
A further £80 million is likely to be spent on souvenirs and toys including items sold overseas, with particular interest from North America, parts of Europe and Australia and New Zealand.
The CCR predicts that 14 million souvenirs with a total value of £56 million and toys (£24 million) are likely to be sold to enthusiasts and collectors. Around £76 million will be spent on books, DVDs and media connected to the event.
Only the best
The baby product industry is expected to enjoy a particular boost as new parents 'trade-up' to more exclusive brands favoured by the Duke and Duchess.
"One of the biggest factors will be the unintentional Royal brand endorsement," explains Bamfield. "The carriage of choice for the royal arrival will no doubt become this year's best selling pram for new and existing parents.
"The 'Kate effect' has already taken the fashion world by storm with each of her choices flying off the shelves within moments of her leaving the house. This trend will follow for the heir's baby grows, rattles, first bike and so on. It's a culture of 'keeping up with the Cambridge's' that isn't going away, albeit a very profitable culture for the retail sector."
The Royal Collection Trust has a small range of baby products for sale, with all profits used for the upkeep of the royal palaces. The collection includes children's mugs, a royal guardsman's style sleepsuit and a child's bear skin hat.
Hundreds of high street stores and small independent brands are getting in on the action too, with everything from HRH baby gift sets and silver jewellery charms, to personalised art prints and commemorative ceramics.
However it is official palace memorabilia that is likely to offer the most appeal and investment potential, as well as anything directly linked to the Duke or Duchess.
"The Duchess of Cambridge has proved a hit among collectors, with news of her pregnancy providing a huge surge in the value of her memorabilia," explains Paul Fraser from Paul Fraser Collectables.
In 2012, PFC Auctions sold the first slice of cake from Kate and William's wedding for an impressive £1,917 ($3,085), while the infamous see-through dress which first attracted William to Kate in a university fashion show achieved £78,000 ($125,535) in 2011.
Fraser adds: "I have personally pursued items previously owned by the Duchess of Cambridge, as I anticipate that there are substantial gains to be made in the future."