Those plucky folk at John Lewis are always ready to jump on a major event and spin it into a piece of marketing gold. The firm officially owns Christmas following a hostile takeover a number of years back, soundtracked by whimsical cover versions of popular songs and dust-in-the-eye inducing tales of suburban life.
Now they are taking control of the new royal baby by identifying the latest trends in parenting just ahead of its birth, which are apparently gender neutral nurseries and forward thinking parenting.
The posh department store (basically a middle class Matalan), has released its Nursery Trends report in the lead-up to the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s regal sprog and it seems the Sussexes are part of a wider trend when it comes to thinking beyond the traditional pink and blue colour schemes.
Most Popular Colours for Nurseries
Whereas once the list of the most popular colours for nurseries would be a photo finish between pink and blue (obviously black and white were the runaway winners every year until the 1960s, when colour was invented), there is a very different picture today. You may have read reports that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were erring away from this tradition, which won’t come as a surprise to many new parents because John Lewis has proof they are doing the same.
The Daily Mail still seems shocked, but then that is to be expected.
The retail giant claims the best selling colour in its nursery sections across the country is grey, closely followed by white. If you had to hazard a guess, you would say that white was the choice of first time mums and dads, whilst grey was the option that second or third-time parents plumped for, knowing full-well that any white fabric placed in the vicinity of a baby for five seconds will become instantly stained for life and the repeat boil washes attempting to remove said stain will only result in the item becoming permanently grey anyway.
The popular colour choices for changing mats are black (smacks of the 80s), grey and tan brown (well, that’s practical I suppose).
Parenting for the Future
After John Lewis had finished totting up its receipts, it settled down to do some analysis and has decided that modern parents are more likely to make purchases with the future in mind than previously. Remarkable really, considering that with climate change and this weird political melee descending on the world, this seems like the one time in history when we haven’t actually been certain there even will be a future.
Basically, the company has broken down mums and dads into three categories based on what they buy for their newborns, but all three seem to have a keen eye on what happens along the line, rather than sticking to the gritty task of clinging on for dear life and just hoping to stay vaguely attached to the newborn baby rollercoaster.
- Tech parent buys all the latest gadgets with half an eye on helping their baby grow up with digital skills. Plus they really like flashy buttons and swipey screens and this seems like a good excuse to purchase more stuff with those features.
- Sustainable parent wants to buy items that are environmentally sound, for obvious greenhouse gas/deforestation/Donald Trump reasons.
- Looking-ahead parent wants to buy products that will be used for as long as possible. Or at least until the child gets bored of them and chucks them behind the sofa.
Most Popular Baby Products
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for neutral colours when it comes to kids. In fact, I’m not sure about the term ‘neutral’. It’s only really ‘neutral’ if you accept that pink and blue are the ‘correct’ colours. Surely choosing nursery colours, whether that’s blue for a girl, pink for a boy or luminous green like a highlighter pen for your twins, is down to your taste and shouldn’t be constricted by stereotypes or anyone else’s opinion. In fact, at the start of the 20th century, that’s exactly what was considered the tradition (the blue for girls, pink for boys bit, not the highlighter part).
However, it’s still reassuring to find some consistency in a changing world. And that is provided by another top stat from John Lewis. Apparently, the number one item on the wish lists of prospective parents is the Sophie le Giraffe teether. Show me someone who says they didn’t have this for their baby and I will show you a liar. I mean, I probably won’t say that to their face, but I’ll text you about it later.