Will the Covid Baby Bust Be Bad for Business?
By now the babies who have been in the womb since the beginning of the pandemic in the early Spring are about to be born. These were the last babies conceived in 2020 before lockdowns, job losses, and anxiety at the prolonged public health crises took over. Although the actual data on whether the pandemic affected family planning in the ensuing months will not be available until the middle of 2021, economists project that we will see 300,000 to 500,000 fewer babies next year in the United States.
Will the fewer number of births mean trouble for businesses that depend on a robust baby population? News reports have warned that formula makers and diaper manufacturers are already bracing for lower sales as other baby-dependent businesses look ahead at gloomy forecasts.
Gabriela Gerhart, owner of the Motherhood Center, disagrees with the dire predictions. The owner of Houston’s leading pregnancy and wellness service provider has good reason to remain more positive in her outlook. Even if half a million fewer babies are born in the United States next year, over 3 million will still arrive in 2021. Taking into consideration America’s overall population size, the estimated decline in births may not have as serious of an effect as predicted. She weighs in on the topic here:
The Baby Bust Prediction
“Although I have seen plenty of articles published about the effects of the lower birth rate next year, I really don’t feel like we’ll see a drop in such a significant way. We already have many clients signing up for our services in the numbers we normally see, clients expecting babies in the springtime and early summer. Of course, the circumstances are different now as opposed to after hurricanes, when we always see more babies born 9 months later! I actually believe the pandemic showed us the importance of family and how to enjoy quality family time. We have had a huge spike in our online searches for articles relating to pregnancy after 40, which was very interesting as well.”
Bad for Business?
“We have been in business for 20 years now, and our business has certainly been affected by different economic crises over the years. However, we have also seen that many pregnancy and baby businesses with quality products and valuable services will do well despite a bad economy, as expecting and new parents will always want the best for their children. We are also learning that many of our clients are entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals who have kept their jobs and businesses, and are learning how to pivot them to success. So, I think for the Motherhood Center, we will always have clients who value what we provide.”
The Motherhood Center Pivots
“Just like many or most other businesses needed to change the way they conduct business during the pandemic, we have also had to respond to our client’s changing needs. Many of our in-person offerings are now also available virtually, from lactation support to labor support. We have also expanded our options of pregnancy and parenting classes. Many of our clients are from way outside Houston city limits; we are seeing clients from California, New York, the Carolina’s, Florida and even international clients. We have reduced our in-person class sizes and offered more virtual classes at various times throughout the week.
As for the prediction of how the lower birth rate might affect baby businesses, we have decided that investing in our business to offer a better product will attract those that are still committed to using our services. As a result, we have been reviewing our current website and the internal software we were using for bookings and CRM, and now are in the process of replacing the technology we used for many years. We upgraded our equipment to allow for touchless and paperless payment processing and filling out of needed documents and forms. With all the changes we went through as a company as well as individually, it allowed us to look at all of this from a bigger picture perspective and see what opportunities are out there. How we can reach more clients beyond Houston or even the state of Texas? With that in mind, we are working on some plans to expand our virtual class offerings and will be launching some exciting new initiatives in 2021.”