Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, says Yes
While people are naturally interested in the birth of a new royal child, this is baby number two, and only about 15 per cent of those we’ve surveyed expect to mark the birth in some way. But our estimates suggest that retail spending arising from the birth will be £80m – not a huge amount, but a significant injection for the retailers that will benefit.
For those that sell the kinds of souvenirs popular around events – DVDs, ceramic mugs and teapots, and coins, for example – the boost will be around £27m. Themed cakes and meal extras will be worth around £25m, while about £28m will be spent on alcohol bought to celebrate with.
The impact will be more marked if the baby is a girl: the longer-term implications for the UK babywear, childrenswear and fashion businesses could be worth £150m per annum, with the new princess studied and emulated by parents all over the world.
Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, says No
While the eventual arrival of the royal baby will be a very happy occasion for many people, it will not have a material impact on the UK economy. True, there will be some buying of souvenirs and mementos, but the overall boost to consumer spending will be limited and may well be diluted by the fact that the new baby will be the so-called “spare” rather than the “heir”.
Furthermore, any purchases of mementos/souvenirs may well be made at the expense of other discretionary purchases. There may also be a small boost to consumer confidence coming from a feel good factor connected with the royal birth, but confidence is already at a very high level, and any boost will be fleeting.
Moreover, people have the small matter of the General Election on their minds. And while the royal baby will likely feature heavily in global news reports, the birth will not materially affect tourism.