Another royal bundle of joy is expected to be a bonanza for the British economy, tempered only by the “baby fatigue” that often sets in with second children (sorry, Harry!).
With the announcement this weekend that Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting a second child, the cash is already starting to roll into the royal baby (and royal baby betting) industry. When Prince George of Cambridge was born in July of 2013, it was predicted that he would give a $400 million boost in sales of food, drink, souvenirs and media to the nearly $2.5 trillion British economy. His new sibling could likewise give another kick to U.K. businesses.
Experts caution that there is something of a "been there, done that" effect with this new birth, however.
"There may be a small feel-good factor when it is born and some buying of souvenirs but that is as far as it will go,” said Dr. Howard Archer, Chief European and U.K. economist for IHS Global Limited.
Even still, the "punters," what the British call gamblers, and souvenir makers are already gearing up. And let’s not forget the media, which will be on royal baby watch for the next nine months.
Irish Betting firm Paddy Power said it will take in $16,000 in bets Monday alone on various factors regarding the new baby. Ladbrokes said it was offering gamblers a chance to bet on the baby's name and gender. "James" is an early favorite, with odds set at 6/1. Last time around over $2.4 million in bets were placed, including bets on hair color and his future job.
A new member of the royal family can also be a tourism draw. VisitBritain used an image of young Prince George in its advertising to position the U.K. as appealing for families. About $7.4 billion of the tourism revenue for British cultural and historical sites pertain to the royal family.
Some are skeptical the new baby will give tourism a bounce, though.
"There's no evidence the last baby did anything to promote tourism," said Graham Smith, CEO of Republic, an advocacy group that campaigns to replace the British monarchy with a democratically elected head of state. "Who in their right mind goes to a country just because someone had a baby?"
Last time around the Center for Retail Research predicted baby George would net over $269 million in sales of souvenirs, toys, books, DVDs and media.
If a royal sticker could be slapped on it, it was sold. There were the plates and onesies. London-based Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Cafe sold tins of handmade cookies for $60 each. There were iPhone covers for $38. For a limited promotional period, Dunkin' Donuts sold a "Royal Munchkin" miniature doughnut.
And should you get sick of all the baby craziness, for about $5 designer Lydia Leith has made a commemorative barf bag. It also works for expectant mothers, too.