July 19, 2013 2:47 pm

Royal baby could boost high-end stroller sales

In this June 4, 2013 file photo, Prince William and Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, attend at a celebratory service for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation at Westminster Abby in London.

Photo by Ki Price/Invision/AP, File

TORONTO – With anticipation of the royal birth the sale of  prams (strollers) is expected to rise as young couples trade in their older models to match the royal baby carriage chosen by Will and Kate.

Stroller sales are expected to increase by 13 per cent according to figures from the Centre for Retail Research, a research group based in Britain.

As new parents rush to meet the trend set by the royal couple, sales of strollers are expected to rise by £33 million from £255 million to £288 million according to figures from CRR.

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Baby carriages can cost parents thousands of dollars and have become a must-have status symbol.

This trend of must-have strollers began in 2009 when sales for iCandy’s line of Peach strollers soared after Victoria Beckham purchased one for her daughter Harper.

The company iCandy has since grown from £3.6 million sales in 2009 to £9.6 million in 2011, according to CRR.

Strollers can be a huge investment for new parents, with high-end models costing hundred and even thousands of dollars.

According to reports from the British press Kate is rumoured to have bought the Bugaboo stroller for her royal offspring, at a reported  £1,250.

And it would not be the first time a  Bugaboo found its way into the hands of a celebrity.

In 2002, when Cynthia Nixon’s character strolled baby Brady in a Bugaboo on Sex and the City the Bugaboo became a must have  for new parents in America.

With parents shelling out more money to push around their bundles of joy, Stroller Spa a company based in the U.S. is capitalizing on the trend by offering repair services for high-end strollers.

For Liz Hysen, owner of Stroller Spa Toronto, the decision to open a Stroller Spa location in Canada came by chance.

“I wanted a cleaning service initially and found Stroller Spa in San Francisco and noticed that there were franchise opportunities. They happen to be an authorized repair centre for Bugaboo. And now we are the only ones who can repair them in Canada,” said Hysen.

For Hysen, who has two kids of her own, repairing a broken stroller wheel or de-gunking a jogging stroller is a lot like another one of her long time interests, the art of bike maintenance.

“I’ve been a commuter cyclist for a long time and figured out how to (fix) some things on my own. It’s a lot of the same principles in stroller repair,” she said.

Strollers are an important part in new parents lives, as raising children has become more integrated into daily life.

Some models include features like drink holders, phone chargers, airbag and even LED screens.

Popular trends like stroller jogging and stroller fitness classes require a solid stroller and has led to parents spending more time outdoors with their kids.

“Higher end strollers are repairable, while lower end ones aren’t and end up in a landfill,”  said Hysen. “I think that parents go out with their children more than 20 years ago. My parents can’t believe how much I take my kids outside.”

© Shaw Media, 2013

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