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“Online transactions account for 40% of nursery’s total market value…”

As 2020 gets underway, GfK’s 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 2018. In the face of Brexit and pre-election uncertainty, consumers were clearly in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode.

In November 2019, the Consumer Confidence Index flatlined at -14 points. At this point we have not seen a positive headline since January 2016, nearly four years ago. Uncertainty is nobody’s friend and we’ve seen this dynamic reflected across most of the durable markets this year, despite a strong Black Friday week when sales were up by 16% compared to 2018, with online sales growing by over 33%.

In fact, 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.

For the nursery sector, the stroller category is worth 40% of the total babycare market. In the period across January to November 2019, sales in the category were down by 3.7% in volume (a 3.6% drop for travel systems and 3% for buggies).

Within travel systems, the higher end of the market is struggling, showing a double digit decline on models costing between £400 and £800. The average selling price for travel systems is now £369 – compared to £380 last year.

According to recent news, the retailer landscape is likely to evolve in the near future and both specialists and non-specialist babycare shops will need to focus on catching the consumers’ demand.

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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