Despite low birth rates and economic pressures, pregnancy and childbirth are celebrated more than ever. From the moment of conception, routines and shopping habits change radically and a growing “bump” industry has emerged, spanning everything from prenatal health and wellbeing to maternity fashion, baby showers, nursery equipment and newborn consumables. This global study gives a unique insight into the perinatal market and the strategies used by marketers to hook new parents-to-be from the out
While their attention is only captured for a relatively short space of time, pregnant and nursing mothers present a lucrative segment for marketers. Furthermore, gaining their loyalty early on could create a bond with a brand that they remember next time around.
Expectant women often make major changes to their lifestyle and shopping habits at this stage in their lives, and are willing to spend what it takes to ensure their own comfort and wellbeing, and the health of their baby during pregnancy and beyond.
Today, pregnancy is viewed as a celebration rather than an endurance. Accordingly, a whole “bump” industry has emerged, including pregnancy wellness and fitness, specialised skin care products, fashion clothing, photography sessions, baby registries and even “babymoons”.
The long-term trend towards fewer births is the result of several factors, including urbanisation and smaller households, a higher number of women entering higher education and careers, population control (in the case of China) and the wider availability of contraception.
Recently, the global recession and high unemployment may have deterred many couples in developed markets from starting a family until they are better able to afford to bring up a baby.
Russia is one of the few countries to have experienced a baby boom in recent years, thanks largely to a law introduced in 2007 which offered subsidies to families with two or more children.
Birth rates remain very high – at over 20 births per 1,000 people – in emerging markets such as the Philippines, India, South Africa and Venezuela. However, lower purchasing power means that there is still only limited demand for pregnancy and baby-related products.
The US had by far the highest number of births among developed markets, at some four million a year. This is also the most developed market for pregnancy and baby goods, with average spending remaining high among parents-to-be, new parents and gifting friends and family.
Reflecting their ageing populations and low birth rates, developed markets such as Germany, Italy, South Korea and Japan had the oldest average first-time mothers (30 years or older); while the youngest first-time mothers were to be found throughout Latin America and India.
Globally, fertility rates have dropped significantly over the long term. Women had 3.0 children on average in 2012, down from 3.2 in 2007. Families were largest in the emerging markets of Philippines, India, Venezuela and South Africa, reflecting high birth rates.
The number of couples facing infertility has increased over the last couple of decades, possibly due to environmental factors and the increasing age of childbearing. This has led to a growing market for IVF and AI treatments, as well as surrogacy.
Paid leave is guaranteed for working mothers in at least 178 countries, with the Nordic countries offering the most generous arrangements. The notable exception is the US, which offers no type of paid leave for mothers.
Leading parenting websites include US-based BabyCenter.com (with over 32 million unique visitors worldwide); China’s Babytree and the UK’s Mumsnet. Websites are also available for those trying to conceive, such as Fairhaven Health’s OvaGraph and TwoWeekWait.com.
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