The baby clothes industry is booming.
In the US alone, $9.3 billion worth of baby clothes is sold annually.
And the boom is accelerating, says Jennifer Lien, a professor at Harvard University who studies the industry.
“There are more brands, more women buying baby clothes than ever before, and they’re selling them at a much higher price than ever,” Lien says.
Lien’s research has found that babies are buying baby clothing because they have “a lot of choices.”
They’re getting rid of their clothes at home, she says.
And they’re also buying them at discount prices.
Baby clothing is also more accessible, and easier to find online.
“It’s a whole new category of baby clothing,” says Sarah Koss, director of the Women in the World program at the Women’s Resource Center.
Baby clothes for the young and the pregnant are the new trendy baby trend.
But Lien warns that it’s not just about buying baby apparel for the baby.
“I think the baby clothes are a way for women to connect with each other,” she says, adding that the trend can also serve as a “buzzword for the whole baby boom.”
For example, a recent study from the Pew Research Center found that the number of women with babies in their late 20s has increased by 13 percent since 2010.
So if you’re a woman in your early 30s or early 40s and looking to find a new baby outfit, Lien recommends checking out the baby clothing section of your local department store.
“If you don’t see it on your wish list, it may be on your to-do list,” she advises.
Liens research has also found that women are spending more time shopping for baby clothes online.
According to the study, women spend an average of 12 minutes per day online, compared to 6 minutes for men.
But that could also be due to the fact that baby clothing is increasingly available for less than $50, which means women are saving money by not buying baby gear online.
Loses are good, too.
Lian says there’s a “great sense of ownership” when women shop for baby clothing.
“They’re buying something that is really special,” she explains.
But she also believes that the industry is facing challenges.
“Baby clothing has a lot of stigma attached to it.
It’s seen as very sexual, very sexualized,” she notes.
Lietts research has shown that while baby clothing sales have increased in the past year, sales of baby dolls have dropped, and the sales of other clothing are also declining.
The baby doll boom has also resulted in increased pressure on clothing retailers.
Last year, Baby Friendly, a group that works to improve the lives of babies, warned retailers to “work with parents and support them when it comes to baby clothes.”
It also urged retailers to make sure baby clothing items are available at “affordable price points.”
In fact, the trend has already been linked to rising costs for many retailers.
“The trend is driving up the cost of baby apparel and the price of other baby apparel, too,” Lietters research found.
Liatts research found that some baby apparel retailers are already experiencing higher costs.
For example: Walmart has increased its prices on baby clothing to $40 per pair, from $40 for a $30 baby outfit.
Walmart also increased the cost for baby shirts from $10 to $15 per pair.
And Target has increased the price for baby pants from $25 to $30 per pair of pants.
Target also increased its pricing on baby shoes from $30 to $35 per pair and baby boots from $20 to $25 per pair for newborns.
For more information on baby clothes, visit www.babyfriendly.org.