Royal Events: Births and Marriages and UK Shopping


Prince George: Our Figures on the Media


The news of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II has been a shock, but not a surprise. 

We can expect many changes following September 2022 with a new King and new Prime Minister. Good fortune to them both. 

The Centre for Retail Research has regularly forecast additional retail and hospitality spending resulting from royal weddings, royal events such as jubilees, and royal births. We do not think it proper to attempt the same for HM Elizabeth's funeral.

God save the King.

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee (70th Anniversary)

For the last ten years the Centre for Retail Research has carried out surveys of how significant royal events, such as weddings and births, affect retail spending.

2022 is the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years since she ascended to the throne. It will be marked by a variety of national and local events, culminating in a four-day UK bank holiday weekend (Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June). There will be Trooping the Colour with 1400 soldiers, 400 musicians and 200 horses. A Birthday Parade, 1,500 Jubilee Beacons to be lit and a Platinum Party at the Palace. On Sunday 5th June there will be The Big Jubilee Lunch, celebrated by street parties and similar events up and down the country. One million trees have already been planted. The Tower of London will be filled by 20m flowers to celebrate 70 years. 'Visitors will plunge', according to The Telegraph, 'down a giant slide, traverse a huge woven willow nest and immerse themselves in a "swarm" of copper insect sculptures'. Crumbs!

Based on previous work for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Centre for Retail Research estimates that new retail spending relating to the Platinum Jubilee will amount to a total of £408.29m (million). The period covered is April-June 2022.

Summary of Retail Spending for Platinum Royal Jubilee 2022

Summary Numbers Involved Spending £m
Souvenirs, memorabilia, gifts   £281.550m
Street parties & private events 13.750m £121.360m
Major Royal Events 0.6007m £5.388m
Additional tourist spending 0.207m £143.040m
Grand Totals 14.527m £408.290m

Souvenirs, Memorabilia, Mugs. Souvenir spending at £281.55m will be more than half this total, including the purchase of 6m mugs, 10m flags and royal decorations, and more than 1m books and royal pictures. Around 1.8m DVDs and digital media dealing with the Queen’s life and her family will be sold and around 2.8m items of stationery and pens.

Street Parties and Informal Events. These were an important part of the last Jubilee. Anxiety about covid has probably reduced commitment to street parties, but we expect 7m people to join The Big Jubilee Lunch on Sunday 5 June. This should produce spending of £21.90m on food (much home-made) and £25.22m on drinks, a total of £46.92m.  There have been forecasts that the numbers at the Big Jubilee Lunch will be as high as 10m, but this is not borne out by the number of applications so far for street closures.  Informal celebrations and private events by an estimated 6.75m persons should produce sales of £29.64m. Sales of Jubilee-themed cakes and confectionery will produce spending of £44.80m.

Royal Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday Events. The main royal events should be watched by tens of thousands of spectators, directly or on specially-provided screens. The Platinum Party at the Palace should be watched by 510,000, slightly more than last time.

Trooping of the Colour on Thursday 2 June, is expected to be watched by more than 12,000 spectators. The special Epsom Derby Day will get 20,000 spectators. The Platinum Jubilee Pageant should get a crowd of 10,000-20,000. Overall we expect a total of 674,000 people to watch these events in person, more than 23m to watch on TV, and spending on food and drink of £5.4m.

Tourist Spending. Tourism from abroad has been badly hit by the covid pandemic, but we expect a further 207,000 tourists to visit London, attracted by the Jubilee, who would not otherwise have visited. Their spending should be around £143m. 

Around the country. Many events of local significance will be organised during or around the Platinum Bank Holiday period. To name four, the Royal Norfolk Show this year will feature a Royal Salute involving 1,000 artistes, in Birmingham the CBSO will present a Royal Concert, in Stoke-on-Trent a Garden Party and Celebration will be held in the Potteries Museum, and as an example of smaller communities the village of Hopton-on-Sea (Norfolk) is planning a range of activities and entertainments to celebrate the Paltinum Jubilee. At this stage we have been unable to make any estimate of spending relating to these local events.

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle according to Nielsen (CNBC, 2018) drew 29mn viewers in the U.S. alone, starting at 7 am EST. At the more highbrow end, an article on their marriage on The Economist website received more views in a single day than any other in 2018.

Retail businesses, restaurants, pubs, hotels, the tourist industry and companies that produce souvenirs have to take a view about how much celebratory spending there is likely to be. 

World Interest in Our Estimates for Royal Events

Our estimates have received widespread coverage all over the world, including CNN, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the Canadian National Broadcasting Corporation, Austrian TV, Russia’s Izvestia newspaper, Hello! Magazine, the Evening Standard, Vogue, the Times, the Telegraph, Guardian, Bloomberg, Euronews, Hollywood Reporter, IBTimes, 20 Minuten Online, Wirtualna Polska and (a first for us) La Gazetta della Sport.

Methods

We collect information directly from a weighted sample of retailers as well as a random sample of around 1,200 shoppers who tell our interviewers about what (if anything) they are likely to purchase or spend relating to a particular royal event.

We calculate spending figures using a period of up to three months around the royal event. Certain other organisations simply estimate spending on the day itself. While many celebrations may indeed take place on the day itself or the previous day (for example, hotel bookings), other celebrations may occur later in the month at weekends or even outside the holiday season. The peak for souvenirs may be the days before a royal wedding or birth but others may be sold particularly abroad in the following weeks. 

What Counts as Celebration Spending?

Spending is calculated in terms of the additional event-specific spending on food, groceries and alcohol (celebration meals at home or in the garden [weather permitting!]), celebratory spending at restaurants and pubs, spending on souvenirs and mementos, the spending by crowds (if people are likely to congregate in great numbers) and spending by foreign tourists. Overseas sales of souvenirs, whether cheap ‘tat’ or costly ceramics and jewellery, are another source of revenue for retailers and UK businesses.  Online retail spending is included as well as spending in physical shops.

We also include separately indirect sales with royalty as ‘influencers’ over the next year or so. For example the birth of Prince George in 2013 led to immediate sell-outs of the shawl the baby wore, and over the longer-term sales increases for the baby clothing brands, toys, baby carriages and other products and fashions bought for (or associated with) this small child, reflecting world-wide interest in someone who is likely to become King at some future date.  The value of these increased sales we estimated to be £146mn for Prince George.

The birth of Archie, the first child of Harry and Meghan (the Sussex’s), led to some national and local  celebrations and accompanying retail spending as there was a lot of interest in this new Royal subset. We estimated that although the amount spent on celebrations for the baby was comparatively small, the main impact of the Sussex's two children along with their mother would be as a fashion influencers. Our  forecast for the first 12-18 months was a boost of £180m and an overall total of £1.25bn for Archie till he (and his sister) were 18 years old. Since making this estimate, the Sussex's have decamped to North America and set up their household as a separate business, involving elements of public relations, publicity, and publicising their views on key issues, including climate change, race, equality and equity and mental health. This means in practice that the expected forecast of the boost for UK fashion given here can be disregarded. 

Estimates of Spending on Royal Celebrations (£mn)

 

Celebrations

Memorabilia

Newspapers, Books

Tourists

Totals

Fashion Impact*

Queen's Silver Jubilee

£271

£169

£28

£53

£521

-

Wedding: William & Katherine

£156

£134

£55

£62

£407

£70

Birth of Prince George

£87

£80

£76

£16

£259

£145

Birth of Princess Charlotte

£22

£28

£16

-

£66

£80

Wedding: Harry & Meghan

£35

£30

£10

£8

£83

£45

Birth of Prince Louis

£25

£34

£15

-

£74

£20

Birth of Harry & Meghan's first child, Archie

£13

£22

£11

£10

£56

£180

[Figures from Centre for Retail Research]
[All figures in £millions]
*Period of 12-18 months

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

  • 2.9 million attended The Big Lunch events and street parties. Around 1.9 million back-garden celebrations were held plus 3.0 million loosely-themed barbeques and other parties (not under the auspices of The Big Lunch).
  • Celebration spending on food and non-alcoholic drinks was £105.97 million and additional spending on alcohol was £79.74 million. This included £25mn on champagne and prosecco.
  • The four-day break for the Diamond Jubilee generated additional retail spending of £60mn.
  • People who attended Jubilee events spent £25.30mn more (compared to staying at home). The Pageant was attended by almost 1 million people.
  • Souvenir spending generated £196.68 million in retail sales. There were 12mn coins, medallions and tokens with a retail value of £37.50mn. Five million mugs and pottery/crockery represented £21.50mn of additional spending for retailers. 120,000 teapots should increase takings by £1.68mn. Books, stationery and toys should produce retail sales of £53 million, including DVDs and digital media of the main events.
  • An extra 250,000 tourists visited the UK and their additional retail spending (additional) in the Jubilee period was around £53mn.
  • There was a double bank holiday for the Jubilee. Online sales for the Jubilee rose by £139.63mn.

Marriage of William and Katherine

The wedding was held in April, which tended to reduce the number of street parties. June would have been better.

  • 1/2mn bottles of champagne, 3.5mn commemorative mugs and pottery, 5mn coins and tokens, 360000 extra tourists, and lots of flags and symbols.
  • Total spending on merchandise reached £157.5 million (excluding food items).
  • The biggest sellers were souvenirs including tea towels, tea caddies, trays and models worth £26.9mn.
  • Commemorative books, biographies and albums - around 1.5 million units worth £22.5 million.

The additional Bank Holiday meant that most shops were closed, which enabled additional online sales of £90.7mn (17.2% of the extra retail spending) to occur.

Birth of Prince George

The growing interest throughout the world in the first child of William and Katherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, had significant implications for retail sales and suppliers. The date of the royal birth has been announced as 13 July 2013. The new baby, male or female, will immediately become third in line to the throne.
The Centre for Retail Research estimated that the birth boosted linked-in retail sales by around £243 million. This figure covered the nine weeks between 1 July 2013 and 31 August.

Festivities

£87 million

Souvenirs and toys

£80 million

Books, DVDs and Media

£76 million

Total

£243 million

In the first year, extra spending on the brands purchased for or used by the new prince were equivalent to £145mn-influenced sales, made up of prams and pushchairs, the baby's clothes, its crib, its toys and any product associated with the baby or its parents.

Here’s how many Americans watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding - read more...(offsite link opens in a new window)


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