According to a 2007 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, there were approximately 4.3 million births in the United States in 2006 (the latest year available for such data). This is the highest birthrate since 1961.
Demographics point to a young, female market in the early stage of its prime earning years. While many an expectant father basks in the glow of his partner's pregnancy, expectant mothers make the lion's share of purchasing decisions. Indeed, 85 percent of the subscribers to Fit Pregnancy magazine are females, and the median age is 28 with a median household income of $42,764. What's more, the CDC reports that single mothers account for 8 percent of births.
Although they may not have reached their full earning potential, expectant parents aren't reluctant to spend money on their babies. "The baby market tends to be more recession-proof than other markets," says Tina MacNicholl, president of The Catamount Group, a direct response media company.
A Craving for Information and Products
Expectant parents have many diverse needs, which makes it tough to get a handle on exactly how much they spend. Most direct marketers agree that spending is significant, begins in the second trimester of a pregnancy and extends 12 weeks into the postnatal period. To add some perspective, the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association reports that the U.S. market for juvenile products-everything for babies from prenatal to preschool excluding food and apparel-was approximately $8.9 billion in retail sales for 2006.
Because expectant parents are in the middle of a primary life change, their buying modes include more than the obvious baby products and services. Expectant parents "realize that how they spend their money on the most fundamental things-like where they live and what kind of home they live in, to what kind of car they drive-is influenced by the new child coming into their home," notes Chris Hulse, president of Madison Direct Marketing, an agency that specializes in life stage marketing. "In a broad sense, every dollar that comes into that household somehow now filters through a new needs analysis that they have."