By Jackie Burrell
Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 3:26 pm in Babies & Tots.
The $343 million baby luxury market soon may be a thing of the past, a relic of the early 21st century’s spend-spend-spend mentality. Industry watchers are noticing a marked uptick in the numbers of families who’ve stopped buying luxury baby gear – new strollers with iPod docks for baby *and* mom, anyone? Instead, they’re parking their Lexuses (Lexi?) at the curb of second hand baby stores, cruising CraigsList and embracing hand-me-downs.
“The recession, it seems, has catalyzed a moment of reflection among the formerly free-spending new-parent set,” New York Times reporter Sarah Wildman writes, “Used is good; free is best.”
The result? The “play and discover” market – industryspeak for “stuff for kids ages 0-1″ – that soared 75 percent between 2003 and 2007, is tanking now. Sales plunged by more than a third in 2008 alone. Wildman’s fascinating piece in yesterday’s New York Times – “For Firstborns, Secondhand Fits the Bill” – notes that the new frugality is not limited to those who can’t afford the latest $900 Bugaboo or swanky $1,000 changing table. Affluent families are questioning their spending too. And they started doing it before the economy really hit its stomach-churning slide. So what do you think? Is this part of the too-much-stuff eco-consciousness of today? Or are we finally waking up from our Madison Avenue-induced trance?