At one extreme, we have the “mini-me” craze.
As a recent story from the UK points out, sales of children clothing in Britain has grown by an estimated 16.9% in the past five years, according to research from market analysis firm Key Note.1
The boost has come from the growing demand for more fashionable clothing for kids. Key Note says increased public and media interest in fashions sported by celebrity children have helped drive sales of high-end, luxury clothing designed for children – a trend that industry analysts are calling the ‘mini-me craze.”
As a result, a number of luxury brands have expanded to now include collections for children, with designers including Stella McCartney, Burberry and Gucci all launching their own children’s wear lines in recent years.
Of course, most of us aren’t buying our kids Prada. But this kids-first focus by parents is certainly not new. In fact, it fed the basic premise behind our Child’s Play motif – that even in tougher economic times children’s needs remain the priority.
The Child’s Play motif is up 4.2% in the past month and has gained 32.6% in 2013. The S&P 500 has increased 3.6% in the past month, and it’s up 25.8% in 2013.
Here’s a little more food for thought: a 2012 survey by Parenting.com and Women & Co. found that 60% of US mothers said clothing would be their biggest expense this year – with 91% admitting to spending more on kids’ wardrobes than their own.2
On average, families last year were expecting to spend $131 on clothing and $48 on school supplies – on each child. As a Parenting.com spokesperson put it at the time, “The number of visitors to Parenting.com looking for kids’ fashion-related content is nearly three times what it was a year ago—and a spike during the back-to-school season indicates that modern families are making kids’ style needs a priority.
As the Child’s Play motif sector weightings reflect, however, there’s much more going on here than shopping for clothes: there’s entertainment, baby care, toys – and at this point, it may be instructive to point out where we are as a country in terms of demographics and costs.
Simply put, in 2014, it’s estimated there will be 74.3 million children in the US, a total that represents an all-time high.
And as most parents know, the cost of raising kids isn’t small. According to a US Department of Agriculture report this summer, it will cost an estimated $214,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child born last year to 18 years old. That’s up 3% from 2011 – and it doesn’t include college.3
Of course, companies that cater to children are also subject to changing economic conditions, but investors also seem to understand that this expanding customer base can often demand special attention.
1Leonie Barrie, “UK: ‘Mini-me’ craze boosts spending on children’s wear,” just-style.com, Nov. 8, 2013, http://www.just-style.com/news/mini-me-craze-boosts-spending-on-childrens-wear_id119668.aspx, (accessed Nov. 20, 2013).
2Press release, “Women & Co/Parenting.com Survey: 9 out of 10 Moms Spend More on Kids’ Fall Wardrobes Than Their Own,” Aug. 2, 2013, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/women–coparentingcom-survey-9-out-of-10-moms-spend-more-on-kids-fall-wardrobes-than-their-own-164722916.html, (accessed Nov. 20, 2013).
3Melanie Hicken, “Average cost to raise a kid: $241,080,” CNNMoney, Aug. 14, 2013, http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/14/pf/cost-children/, (accessed Nov. 20, 2013).