Second Royal Baby Estimated to Be $120 Million Boost to U.K. Economy
There has been less buzz than before Prince George's birth, which was estimated to have had a $400 million benefit, but one expert says a baby girl could cause fresh excitement.
With Kate Middleton and Prince William about to have their second child, much speculation has centered on questions about the due date, baby’s gender and possible name.
But what about the expected economic benefits of the royal baby for Britain? Four hours after the first photo of Prince George emerged, the web site of the company that produced his cotton swaddle crashed under the weight of orders. A similar frenzy has occurred with baby wear sported by the potential future king, proving the couple's first baby has had an effect on what people buy.
Brits also bought champagne to celebrate the royal arrival, traveled to London to be in town for the birth and were reminded that they could buy certain clothes, toys or baby gear for their own kids.
In total, experts at Britain’s Center for Retail Research estimated that the first royal baby’s birth may have given a boost of $400 million to the U.K. economy, including a boost to retail sales of around $365 million.
Festivities-related expenses were believed to have led the way with an estimated $131 million in additional business thanks to the royal baby, according to the research group. That included increased spending on alcohol. That was believed to have been followed by souvenirs and toys tied to the baby and royals- and royal baby-related books, DVDs and media.
Many suggest baby number two will again have a positive impact, but a less marked one as there has been less of a media circus in the run-up to the birth than the first time around. The Center for Retail Research estimates a retail spending boost to the British economy of around $120 million this time around.
But if the baby turns out to be a princess, it expects upside to that figure. Joshua Bamfield, director of the Center, told the Daily Telegraph that a baby girl could bring in up to $225 million over time, with fashion retailers being big beneficiaries given that a baby girl could inherit Middleton's role as a tastemaker.
“I think there will be an immediate boost of around $120 million (£80 million) when the baby is born, with around $30 million-$38 million (£20 million-£25 million) spent on souvenirs and the rest on food and drink, such as cake and sparkling wine," he told the paper. "There isn’t as much excitement when it’s the second baby, but a girl would have the potential to boost the fashion industry.”
The announcement of the second baby alone, in September just before the Scottish independence referendum, may already have had major implications, some say. Some analysts suggest it helped boost national pride and helped sway the vote to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom.
Fortune last year looked at the births of 11 royal babies born between 1960 and 2013 and economic growth during the quarter of their birth.
Prince Andrew, born in February 1960, saw GDP in the first quarter of that year climb 2.5 percent in the best performance the team found. In comparison, the economy grew 1.3 percent in the second quarter of 1982 when Prince William was born and 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 1984 when his brother Prince Harry was born.