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Accessories for Babies & Children
For those buyers and browsers who have found themselves stuck for ideas when they come across a voucher or deal which applies exclusively to “baby and children” accessories, don’t worry! You are not alone.
The industry around accessories for babies and children is one of the most versatile retail sectors there is – with many buyers finding themselves caught in the uncertainty of official definitions and actual marketing and product releases.
If you look up the official definition of an accessory, you will learn that the terms refers to an item or object which can be added to something or someone in order to make it/them seem more versatile, more useful, or more attractive. Of course, in the fashion world this is easy – but what about when we move into the baby and children industry? Are accessories still focused on appearance and versatile usability, or does the term instead refer to the practical products we covet and purchase in order to make everyday life easier?
Understanding the accessory industry for babies and children
The baby and children industry is wide ranging and encompasses a great many brands with a whole hoard of different priorities – essentially meaning that the opportunity for targeted vouchers and deals is rife for those who shop smart. Whether a brand or retailer operates in the apparel sector, the homeware and decorative sector, or the practical add-ons sector, the wide ranging demands within the baby and industry sector means that there is room on the market for brands which operate at a variety of price points and which feature a great many different USP’s and selling tools – with aesthetics vs. practicality, and style vs. comfort being just one of many decisions facing parents and buyers looking for accessories and other items.
One of the most prominent things to acknowledge about the accessory market in the baby and children industry is how it takes concepts and ideas which also sit with fashion accessories, and then expands and builds on them to make them more applicable to the target buyer for the particular industry it operates in. A great example is a simple everyday bag – with a fashion bag likely being smaller, with a focus on colour and material, and designed to compliment a great outfit or personal style. Meanwhile if you were to compare this with a bag in the baby and children market, you will likely find that the latter is much more likely to be made from a durable fabric, featuring pockets and various zips which each conceal different things that you might need with a baby or child in tow.
That’s not to say that babies and children can’t enjoy and benefit from the same kinds of fashionable and aesthetic accessories which adorn the adult fashion market – it simply means that in the baby and children industry, the term ‘accessory’ refers to a much wider cross section of products and brands.
Where to Buy Accessories for Babies & Children
So, how do you identify a baby and children accessory retailer? Is it one with useful and practical implements or gadgets in the window, or is it one which stocks items to dress up your child’s bedroom, ribbons to go in their hair and delicate shoes to match each of their different outfits? In short, a baby and children’s accessory retailer can stock any one of these things – with most of the big names in the industry covering all of those items and more.
One retailer, JC Penney, sums the babies and children accessory market up well with its industry introduction on the website – “Kids’ accessories vary in necessity, but they are all essential to a kid’s look and attitude”
Though this refers directly to the retailers own take on the wider industry, with JC Penney being one of the retailers which classifies children’s accessories as the belts and clips they add to their appearance to inject some individual style and personality, their summary of their industry as a whole is all-encompassing and resonates well with those dipping into the industry whether as a new brand or a buyer.
The fact is, the definition and selection of products which sit in the baby and children accessory retail space will largely depend on which retailer you are looking into – with John Lewis and other department stores widening the sector to include all manner of technology, practical, apparel and decorative products within the industry, while more targeted retailers like JC Penney and Jojo Maman Bebe define their accessory stock as that which can be worn and which enhances overall style and appearance – i.e. it does not include buggies and bags which are designed to make the parents life easier.
Some other examples of retailers who sit across the wider interpretation of “accessory” include Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, Mamas & Papas and Delta Children, which is a dedicated children’s and baby site renowned for not only its high end products but also the usability of the website and the fact that every subsection of products is backed up with expert guidance and advice on how best to approach various steps and stages in the child’s life.
Examples of more targeted retailers with a narrower view of the accessory market, focusing primarily on wearable accessories for children, include global ecommerce retailer PatPat and department store retailer Macy’s – which also increases usability by breaking its online product pages down to allow shoppers to browse according to different deals and voucher categories.
Upon observing and exploring the top retailers within the baby and children accessory industry, it is apparent that the most popular and successful retailers depend on your definition of what an accessory within the industry is – though there are still a handful of leading retail players no matter what your end definition may be; namely:
- Mamas & Papas
- John Lewis
- Burt’s Bees (covering everything from swaddle cloths to creams, clothes and treat for the parents as well)
- Estella NYC (famed for organic and high quality products)
The crossover between adults and children is more prominent in this industry than in any other, with accessories referring to those items which enhance both the child’s life and the parent’s life – sometimes impacting both but often impacting only one or the other. Drawing the line between the two is something which separates a great deal of brands as suggested above, with department stores far more likely to encompass adult accessories relating to baby and child care within the industry, than brands which are dedicated to providing products tailored to be worn and used by the children themselves.
Let’s look a little more closely at the products within the industry, and which brands are covering each style of products.
Popular Accessories for Babies & Children
For those reading this who are still unsure where they can use their baby accessory and children’s accessory vouchers and store discounts, the following list offers just a snapshot of the top products currently leading the industry; with trends often altering and shifting the focus as brands move from organic creams to unisex garments and everything in between.
- Baby sleep sacks
- Prams and Pushchairs
- Baby feeding bottles
- Hair bands and head bands
- Baby booties, socks and shoes
- Kid’s belts
- Carry bags and stroller buggies
- Nursery furniture and bedding
- Gadgets such as baby monitors and educational tablets
The list goes on. But the question is, with so many different products driving the industry forward and ensuring success across such a wide cross section of brands and retail stores, which trends are responsible for the ever-changing accessory landscape in the baby and children’s market?
Trends in Accessories for Babies & Children
One of the overriding trends in the industry around accessories - and really any other kind of product for babies and children - is the rise of consumer interest in eco-friendly and organic products, sustainable materials and cruelty-free manufacturing and testing. As a trend, this is one which has become a driving force behind much of the retail industry, spanning fashion as well as health and beauty, homewares and of course baby and childrenswear – not only pushing forward brands with climate and culture commitments, but also completely changing the ways in which brands and products are marketing to their target audience.
A great example of this rising trend is the shift in the ways that consumers are shopping for and using nappies – with stats showing that when generic nappies are used for the entirety of a babies infancy, they could be responsible for the disposal of around 4,000 nappies; each of which takes 300 years to break down. With numbers like these circulating the marketing reports and climate stats online and in our media, consumers demanded change – and organic brands have listened, with many retailers now stocking a variety of environmentally friendly and recyclable nappies which are biodegradable and in some cases washable and reusable. And for those consumers searching for the kinds of products which herald and protect the environment as well as your baby’s comfort and safety, the internet is packed full of forums and articles which really delve into the environmental impact of many of the most common baby and children accessories, and uncovers ways to combat the carbon footprint of these everyday accessories.
Another rising trend in the baby and children’s accessory industry is the increase in partnerships between accessory brands and renowned and much-loved children’s characters and influential faces – not only creating packaging which will appeal to the child and often to their parents as well, but also creating links and unity within the children’s industry which can support brands and provide them with the endorsement of a partnership deal. A top example of this is children’s plasters, which are specifically created and designed to target and appeal to young children – with Disney being a key partnership which allows the plasters to be adorned with famous cartoon and animated faces. Another example, but one still using Disney, is the partnership between Disney and UK store Primark – a partnership which is not limited to the baby and children’s accessory industry and which reaches into other retail sectors as well, but which crucially gives the affordable high street retailer the permission to use popular Disney characters and motifs across much of its range, including carry bags and children’s wearable and practical accessories.
The other prominent trend in the accessory industry, particularly appropriate for the children’s sector but which also crosses over into the baby sector as well, is the rise in educational accessories and toys which are designed to enhance and increase the opportunity for learning as well as play. In the modern world of technological advancement and digitalisation, children’s learning is becoming increasingly supplemented with online support offerings and opportunities – with a whole new era of brands arriving on the scene dedicated to creating learning through play for various target age groups. This is something which schools encourage but is also something that can be appropriate for babies as well, with research showing how babies interact and engage with stimulating noises and sights from as early as a few days old.
These kinds of accessories are not only conducive to learning through play, but also become practical tools for a parent to use to distract and occupy their child, allowing for a shift away from Apple iPads and smartphones – replacing them with a range of branded tablets and devices which are tailored for use by children. Some of the leading brands in this sector of the accessory industry include:
- LeapFrog Epic
- Samsung Galaxy Kids edition
- Amazon Fire Kids edition
- Lenovo Chromebook
Wrapping up the baby and children accessory industry
This article was designed to aid you the next time you are presented with a voucher or a deal for the baby and children accessory industry. With so many different products and retail sectors all captured under the “accessory” heading for the younger age group, the range of retailers and brands available to you as a buyer offers huge variety – whether you are looking for a hair band, an electronic tablet, a new pram or even a set of eco-friendly nappies.