Baby clothing has gone from being seen as one of life’s simple necessities to becoming for many parents the most important clothing purchases they ever make.
Where once upon a time the global demand for baby clothing was a small fraction of overall retail sales, today, baby clothing is one of the fastest expanding and most important clothing sectors, with an extensive and varied range of products being produced for newborns, toddlers, and young babies.
From affordable low-cost discounted products to top luxury brands, more and more brands are entering the market to cater to the insatiable demand of consumers.
In this post, we look at:
- the great variety of fantastic products that are out there,
- the materials and types of baby clothing,
- why the baby clothing market has become so big,
- designs that are the most popular and in vogue currently, including the super trendy skull baby clothing, the ever-popular baby Star Wars clothing, as well as cool hip hop, and Patriots baby clothing designs.
What exactly is baby clothing?
Baby clothing refers to clothing for children aged 0-36 months. Broadly speaking, it is divided into Girls and Boys clothing, with ‘infants’ categorized as 0-12 months of age. Although baby clothing is further divided into 12-24 months and 24-36 months of age groups, these two age groups are classified as toddler wear.
These days, there is a dizzying array of baby clothing products, including pants, jackets, T-shirts, sweaters, and onesies.
Where are baby clothing sales the biggest?
North America is by far the biggest market currently, accounting for an estimated 40% of all sales.
According to Statista, the value of the baby and young children’s apparel market in the United States was around 21 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. In the same year, the size of the children’s apparel market in the United Kingdom was estimated to be approximately 6.2 billion GBP.
Types of baby clothing
Baby clothing has come a long way since the days when it consisted of little more than hand-me-down clothes and items of necessity. Yes, back in the day babies were often dressed immaculately but most mothers made do with one or two baby dresses and very little else.
In our modern times of ever-greater consumer choice, a whole range of baby clothing products is now available catering to every imaginable taste and desire. And we really do mean every imaginable taste!
Outwear (sometimes called outerwear) is the most popular, accounting for 60% of the overall market, while baby clothing underwear is the fastest expanding sector. Types of baby clothing now include outwear, innerwear and nightwear. With items such as socks and tights, t-shirts, pants, jackets, sweaters and baby suits in high demand.
Onesies and bloomers
Bloomers – a nice name for diaper covers – are especially popular at present and are perfect for combining with bodysuits or the in vogue kimono top. Bloomers can also be worn over leggings.
Rompers – an all in one top and bottom – are ideal if you want to cut down on the number of items of baby clothing and often come in fun styles. Sleepers, otherwise known as pajamas or PJs are perfect for keeping a baby warm and cozy and are usually designed to make it easy for diaper changes.
When it comes to baby clothing in the 2020s though, from adorable beanie hats to cute and colorful baby socks of every imaginable design, the types of baby clothing available to buy and sell are as varied as the size of your imagination!
Choosing the right material for baby clothing
With synthetic materials increasingly out of vogue, demanding parents are now turning to organic materials including cotton, wool, linen, and silk.
Cotton baby clothes
As we all know, cotton clothes are one of the most comfortable fabrics around and, in the case of a baby, it is not only non-allergenic but it is also soft and does not rub aggressively on a baby’s skin.
Cotton absorbs moisture meaning cotton baby clothes will keep a baby feeling cool. Cotton is also durable and doesn’t lose its primary shape and color.
Printify’s range of infant baby clothes includes 100% flexible cotton infant fine jersey body suits and classic fit 100% soft cotton infant long sleeve body suits. We also offer infant fine jersey tee, made by specially spinned fibers that make very strong and smooth fabric, perfect for printing.
Wool baby clothes
Many parents choose woolen baby clothes to ensure their child is kept warm and comfortable. Thanks to the insulating properties of wool, a baby’s body temperature is regulated and the skin breathes naturally.
Linen baby clothes
Very often parents choose silk, cotton, and wool over linen baby clothes but linen comes with the advantages of being natural, clothes looking great and also being a material that ‘breathes’, passing air to the body.
Polyester baby clothes
Polyester isn’t organic but this material is perfectly safe and it has the advantages of being amazingly resistant to the elements. It also has good strength and elastic recovery, good water absorption, and good chemical resistance. Yes, often natural is the best but in the case of polyester, this is a safe and reliable synthetic which is perfect for products such as fleece baby bibs.
Silk baby clothing
Silk baby clothes are in demand for both their current fashionable popularity and for the way the material maintains an even temperature. Silk absorbs a lot of moisture and also dries very rapidly. It also reduces the loss of natural oils.
Why sell baby clothing?
According to industry analysts, the global baby apparel market size was valued at anywhere between $40 billion and a whopping $135 billion in 2018.
Many industry experts and analysts expect the baby clothing market to grow by 5% or more per year over the next five years, particularly with the growth in online selling and the increases in disposable income around the world.
Custom baby clothes market is fluid
There are fantastic opportunities for anyone to sell custom made baby clothing to a rapidly expanding global market. But remember! The market is a fluid, competitive environment with several different sales channels including chain stores, branded stores and, of course, the internet!
If you are thinking of selling custom baby clothing, then spend time researching the market before deciding what your marketing strategy is.
Online sales of baby clothing
It is estimated that 25% of the market is online, with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest driving interest for the latest custom baby clothing products. This follows the general trend in online versus total retail purchasing of goods in all sectors, which saw online spending represent 16% of total retail sales for 2019 in the US; up to around 14 percent year-on-year.
The future is increasingly online
Continuous promotion through e-commerce stores such as Etsy is also helping to grow the demand and sales of custom baby clothes as young (and old) entrepreneurs and startups spot the opportunity to custom design infants and toddlers clothes to a captive global market.
Developments in the baby clothing market
So, we can expect the baby clothing market to continue being an attractive segment for sellers. But like everything in life, there are always bumps along the way and changing trends in markets that any merchant would do well to keep their eye on.
Why is the baby clothing market so big?
Middle classes and upwardly mobile women
According to IBIS World, US industry revenue for baby clothing is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 13.5% to $2.5 billion over the five years.
The demand for baby clothing is growing rapidly for a whole range of reasons, not least of all because of an ever-expanding middle class and the rise in the number of upwardly mobile women who make up the majority of the buying public. The middle class is expected to hit 5.3 billion people by 2030.
The growing purchasing power of the middle classes in newly industrialized nations creates opportunities for anyone able to tap into these markets. Meanwhile, the growing economic power of women is seen by many analysts as one of the most significant economic shifts in recent decades.
Women’s share of the purse strings is catching up with men each year with projections that by the end of 2020, women will control 32% of all wealth, totaling $72 Trillion.
When you consider this figure was 51 Trillion just five years ago, you can clearly see that the growing purchasing power of female consumers will almost certainly lead to significant growth in demand for baby clothes.
There are 166 million women in the United States. That is a lot of mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who want their baby, niece, nephew or grandchild looking and feeling the best they possibly can!
We all like safety and comfort, and babies do too!
Another big driver for the growth in demand for baby clothes is the parents’ desire for safer and more comfortable clothes. There is increasing demand, for example, for natural materials rather than synthetic materials which often caused skin irritations in the past.
Baby skin is more sensitive and delicate than a child’s or adult’s skin (it is 30 percent thinner than adult skin), so organic materials offer a better alternative. Fire-safe baby clothes are also an absolute given for most parents in the 21st century.
The modern busy parent is also looking for easy and convenient baby clothing, with products now available to satisfy this demand. This often means simpler designs, minus the adornments that used to be more commonplace in the past. And with daycare workers and babysitters often looking after babies, the demand for affordable high-quality clothing which is also easy to take on and off the child and to wash regularly without degradation is also essential.
Successful e-commerce is convenient
As many parents will also be at home looking after their babies, online shopping is ultimately more convenient for many parents than getting in their car and driving to a packed mall full of other screaming kids and under pressure parents.
The success of e-commerce also has much to do with convenience. When it comes to clothing, baby clothes are one of the ‘easy sells’ because baby clothes don’t need to be tried on for fitting and are therefore a much ‘safer’ online purchase than teenagers or adult clothing.
Online shopping for baby clothes also presents the opportunity to look at a far wider choice of clothing styles and brands, with prices and products to fit every pocket, something that isn’t always the case on a shopping expedition to the mall.
Custom baby clothes – fashion trends
Let’s be honest, most of us care about what others think about us and how our children look whether we want to admit it or not. How we present ourselves to our friends, family, colleagues and the wider world matters.
We want our babies to look great. If the baby is happy, then we are all happy. We naturally want our children to look good, look stylish. The way our babies are dressed is a reflection of both their personality and ours.
Custom baby clothes fashion trends are often influenced by what the children’s parents liked when they were kids. Did you grow up loving Star Wars? Then it’s perhaps not a surprise that Star Wars baby clothes are one of the trends of the moment.
You were into Snoop as an adolescent teenager then guess what? Hip hop baby clothing is all the rage! And if you are an independently-minded parent or relative that loves punk-inspired fashion, who has a couple of gorgeous tattoos, or simply feel uninspired by boring, generic high street fashion, then chances are the latest trending styles such as baby skull clothing are for you!
Ultimately though, what is hip and what is not is also influenced by a whole myriad of factors including lifestyle magazines and blogs, social media posts, kids fashion shows and of course the ‘influence of the influencers’, with trend-conscious parents keen to purchase the latest ‘must-have’.
In modern times, memories are made in pictures. In the digital age, we can document pretty much everything we do as almost everyone today owns a phone with a great camera and has access to the internet. And some of us do exactly that, taking pictures and video of a baby’s life from its first days in this world to becoming a walking and talking giggling child.
It is important therefore that we keep our babies’ Instagram fresh and ready for the phone camera lens! Because everyone is going to be looking at those fantastic images of your child in their cool and hip custom baby clothes on Instagram and Facebook!
Nuclear families and starting families later in life
Increasingly couples are choosing to start families later and to have fewer children than their parents and grandparents did. This might sound like it would lead to less expenditure on baby clothes but on the contrary the fact that couples are choosing to wait until they are older and more financially stable before having kids means that their budget for children’s clothes is significantly bigger than it was in the past.
Waiting means more money for babies
New research from Washington University in St Louis suggests that Working women who want to minimize career income losses related to motherhood should wait until they are about 30 years old to have their first children.
Women in the United States face a financial trade-off when they consider having a baby or focussing on their careers. Children don’t have to kill careers but the earlier a mother tends to have her first child, the more it will tend to hit her long term earnings. The study finds that College-educated women who had children before age 25 lose about two full years of average annual salary over their careers.
In 1975, for example, 35% percent of women had their first child aged less than 20 years of age. By 2010 that figure had already dropped to 19% and continues to fall today. As couples form later than they used to in the past, their disposable incomes for baby clothing are much higher than they used to be.
Gifting custom baby clothing
The trend of gifting, for example, has in recent years contributed to the increase in the sales of baby and infant clothing as grandparents, Godparents, uncles, and aunts are also getting in on the act.
Customer expectations are constantly changing and while many consumers are demanding lower prices, they are also seeking high-quality products with custom good designs.
Alternative baby clothing
Alternative parenting is leading to a shift away from how things used to be with our parents’ and grandparents’ generations and, understandably, this means a big change in tastes, expectations and shopping habits.
Parenting styles differ from authoritarian or disciplinarian, too permissive or indulgent, uninvolved or authoritative. But as we see a big trend towards alternative parenting, we also see huge growth in demand, for example, for eco baby clothing.
According to Grand View Research: The global eco fiber market size was estimated at USD 37.24 billion in 2018, with significant growth predicted in the coming years. Clearly, any merchant wanting to be successful in the baby clothing market must consider such strong trends if they wish to be successful in the future.
There are incredible opportunities for success in selling custom baby clothes. That success will depend upon good strategies, sales and marketing plans, constant analysis of trends and fashions, and a spoonful of good luck in terms of what life might throw at us.
What are the most popular baby clothing brands?
Top players in the baby clothing market include Converse Kids, Zara, Earthchild, Carters, Benetton, Goodbaby, Dadida, H&M, GAP, and OKAIDI. The list just goes on and on as the big brands (many of which were previously exclusively adult-only brands) compete for their slice of the baby clothing pie.
Buying custom baby clothes from independent sellers
Selling custom designed baby clothes offers a fantastic opportunity for any fashion entrepreneur or online shop. Clothing online stores specializing in baby clothes have become very popular, as they offer customers alternatives to shop-purchased clothes.
What are the most popular baby clothing designs?
From the weird to the wonderful, there is a whole universe out there of baby clothing designs.
Two of the most popular designs currently are skull baby clothes and baby Star Wars clothes. Born in the United States but popular now all over the world, hip hop baby clothing designs are also extremely popular.
Skull baby clothing
Parents with a more alternative fashion and lifestyle outlook on life are tending to shy away from the more mundane, traditional designs and are choosing clothing that instead reflects their personality and the look they desire for their own children.
No style of baby clothing typifies this more than skull baby clothing, a style that definitely seems to appeal to parents who tend to live by their own rules in life.
Baby Star Wars clothing
One of the most popular trends currently in baby clothing is for Star-Wars-inspired clothing. After first hitting the widescreen back in 1977, the Star Wars phenomenon is now more than 40 years old, with nine films to date.
Whether it is a Princess Leia inspired baby suit you want your little girl to be beautifully dressed in or Darth Vader matching T-shirts for father and son, may the force be with you as you search for the perfect outfit for your little one! And the good news is that you don’t need to travel to a galaxy far far away to find them!
Hip hop baby clothing
Hip hop and rap-inspired baby clothing is all the rage currently, with fashion-conscious parents kitting out their kids to look far cooler, in some cases, than some of the hip hop stars they are mimicking.
Sports baby clothing
New England Patriots, LA Lakers or NY Yankees baby clothing is becoming as popular in the US as Messi and Ronaldo’s tops are in much of the world. Personalized NFL jerseys, newborn and infant patriots baby suits, and patriots bibs and bootie sets, are just a few examples of the range of Patriots baby clothing which is one of the ‘must-have’ designs this year.
We’ve taken you through all the baby clothing history, market analysis, and trends so you can better understand how the baby clothing market operates in the United States and all over the world.
With a global market value of $100 billion-plus, the world is your oyster when it comes to selling baby clothing products to customers all over planet earth.
Online selling of baby clothing is where we think the big focus should be in the coming years, with huge annual growth predicted. As internet speeds increase and internet usage becomes almost universal, sellers have the opportunity to market and sell their beautiful and imaginative products to the four corners of the world.
Be imaginative in what you sell and how you present it! Make sure you are up to date on what materials are popular and what the latest fashions are, be it Star Wars or hip hop baby clothing! And enjoy the process of designing the custom baby clothes, marketing them to your customers and then watching the sales clock up!
Make it happen right now.
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