It may not be the Baby Boom but it could be a pretty good-sized Baby Blip.
After historic drops in the number of babies born last year and into 2021 — this following a steady decline in the birth rate for a number of years — some forecasters say there could be a mini-boom next year as America makes up for lost time in any number of areas…including babies.
The reversal in the birth rate may not be long lasting and may represent more postponed family forming than any broad change in overall demographics but it certainly would come as welcome news for dozens of business sectors — from toy companies to children’s apparel brands and from daycare centers to baby food and CPG products.
“Assuming no derailment in the economy or public health we could see a short-lived baby boom from 2022,” wrote Deborah Weinswig in her Coresight Research “From the Desk of Deborah Weinswig” newsletter recently. But she cautioned “we do not expect the longer-term downward trend to reverse.”
But if you adhere to the old-fashioned adage that people start families after they get married, what’s happening in the wedding business could be a good indicator. After a severe drop in the number of weddings last year from historic levels of about two million a year to less than 1.3 millions we are seeing a dramatic increase so far this year. Wedding venues, bridal gown manufacturers, caterers and everybody else affiliated with the wedding process is reporting strong — very strong — business.
Richard Kestenbaum, co-founder and partner at Triangle Capital, a financial services consulting service, recently wrote on Forbes.com “The (number of) weddings that were postponed in 2020 is creating a huge backlog in 2021 and the number this year is likely to be the highest ever.”
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Will this trend carry over to new babies? Certainly some companies are counting on it. Bed Bath & Beyond, which owns the buybuyBaby retail chain, is reporting strong growth in that unit and is forecasting more of the same going forward. And Ashley HomeStore, the nation’s largest furniture chain, has just launched Ashley Baby & Kids, representing an expansion of its existing efforts in the infant and children’s furniture category.
We’re also seeing extremely strong activity in the housing market, partly the effect of limited supply but also reflecting the demand for homes in the suburbs from next-gen consumers who are moving out of cities to start families. Those are the circumstances that created the original post-World War II Baby Boom of the late 1940s and 1950s into the early 1960s. And while no one is suggesting any surge of that magnitude — nor any long-term trend — the optimism about an increase in the number of babies expected by next year certainly is going to make for sweet dreams for many businesses that serve the sector. They will most certainly welcome even a Blip after all those years of a Bust.