GfK: 2019 in nursery numbers

Market research company GfK offers valuable insight into the way people live, think and shop. Client insight manager Marco Salerno takes takes a look back at the past year in nursery.

“In 2019, the total babycare market in Great Britain was down by 4% compared to last year. In the face of Brexit and pre-election uncertainty, consumers were clearly in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode. The general election is potentially an opportunity to move us out of the doldrums – but for this to happen there must be a clear outcome.

Online transactions have outperformed in-store sales across all babycare markets and now account for 40% of the total market value, compared to 37% last year. This growth in online sales amounts to a £10m increase, while in-store sales have declined by £35m, a harsh sign of a struggling retail landscape.

The categories with the greatest declines in the total market are highchairs (down by 9%), monitors (down by 8%) and strollers (down by 6%), all potentially driven by a suspected increase in the second-hand market as consumers look to tighten their belts.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though, the combined soothers and teethers market is nearly flat year-on-year, while the breast-feeding market and bottle warmers and sterilisers sector both show strong growth of 2% and 6% respectively.

For the nursery sector, strollers is by far the biggest category and it’s worth 40% of the total babycare market. In the period across January to November 2-19, sales in the category were down by 3.7% in volume, with 982,000 units sold. This decline has been common to both main segments – travel system pushchairs lost 3.6% in volume, while the buggy segment saw a 3.0% drop.

Today’s customers have more choices, and also more power over the brands they interact with, than even before. It is no longer enough to simply provide a high-quality product – you’ll also need to be competitive and to be able to deliver an excellent customer experience.”

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