Have a baby? You need P60K to buy essentials – study

HERE I COME Babies like Jahir, a 2021 New Year baby, bring a lot of joy but there are many expenses parents need to be prepared for. —RICHARD A. REYES

After the excitement over the ultrasound pictures and the gender reveal party has died down, the costly reality of having a new baby will slowly sink in. Apart from the sleepless nights that most parents endure in the first few months, they also have to deal with the spiraling cost of buying essentials for a newborn.

A study by iPrice Group released in December reveals that Filipinos need about 60,000 pesos to cover basic supplies when a baby is born. The group conducted a study that collected the average cost of basic baby items and changes in people’s interest in online baby products. Based on iPrice’s price data from thousands of sellers and merchants on their website, the e-commerce aggregator recorded the median prices of selected basic items for a newborn baby. One-time purchases such as infant car seats, strollers, five toys, cribs, stepladders and more total around 57,800 pesos. However, regularly purchased items such as diapers, wipes, and formula will cost around P1,600 per purchase.

And these are just the basics. The amount does not even include the cost of other items such as bath products, cleaning accessories, clothing, feeding items, baby decoration or even non-essential necessities such as health care . But the study notes that these are only average prices on the iPrice platform, meaning cheaper alternatives are available.

According to a briefing from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the minimum wage in the Philippines is 537 pesos a day. Assuming that a minimum wage earner works 20 days a month and earns around 10,740 pesos a month, he must set aside 69% of his salary for eight months to pay for basic necessities for a newborn baby.

But that’s only on the premise that a single minimum-wage earner is supposed to support a newborn baby. Usually there are two members in a family who earn an income.

No baby boom

The pandemic appears to have slowed birth rates in Southeast Asia, a region struggling with overcrowding.

In 2020, the Philippines recorded the lowest number of babies born in 34 years. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in October a “significant drop” of 9.43% in the number of births recorded last year. In 2020, there were 1,516,042 births registered, compared to 1,673,923 in 2019. Amid the threat caused by the pandemic, the country experienced the worst post-war recession in 2020 with a contraction in domestic product gross of 9.6%. The financial shock wave has contributed to growing worries among Filipinos who have had to deal with job losses, higher inflation, hunger and bankruptcy in addition to health problems such as HIV infection. COVID-19.

“From the PSA figures, it’s clear that Filipino women are deciding to delay having children, and families are postponing or avoiding having more children because they [are] aware of the difficulties and possible inconveniences in obtaining medical and family planning services since the pandemic has severely hampered health systems,” says Juan Antonio Perez, Executive Director of the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).

Meanwhile, Malaysia is experiencing the same fate as its fertility rate is at its lowest in 40 years. A similar trend can also be seen in Singapore and Thailand.

In addition to deciding to delay pregnancies, Perez also attributes the country’s declining birth rate last year to more women being more adept at using modern family planning methods.

Based on PSA data, approximately 400,000 additional households used family planning services in 2020, bringing to more than 8 million the number of Filipino households planning for pregnancy frequency.

In 2021, the number of Filipinos grew by a meager 0.3% compared to 2020. Popcom predicts the slowest population growth in 75 years.

Popcom estimated the country’s total population at 109,991,095 at the end of 2021.

But all hope is not lost. Once daily new infections decline in the Philippines, Popcom is optimistic that the country’s birth count will rebound, similar to what happened after the end of World War II in 1945.

“Filipinos will eventually learn to live with COVID-19 and we may see an increase in births after the COVID-19 era,” Perez says.

Shopping online

Despite declining birth rates in several Southeast Asian countries, online interest in baby items is on the rise. iPrice saw a 127% increase in Google impressions of baby categories across its six platforms in 2021.

The toys category topped the list, with a 222% increase in Google impressions, followed by diapers (160%) and childcare items (127%).

The mobility of Filipinos has been severely affected during the strict lockdown measures imposed by the government to curb the spread of the deadly disease. Perhaps this is why Filipino parents have turned to online shopping for their babies’ needs. Thus, items like inflatable pools and baby bikes had the most Google impressions on iPrice Philippines.

Apart from these items, diapers and baby formula also had the most impressions in the Philippines and other countries. Filipinos’ interest in these items increased by 146%, but Singapore and Thailand saw the largest increase in interest in baby items, with increases of 184% and 180% respectively.

The only country that didn’t have much of a difference in interest was Malaysia, with only an 8% increase in Google impressions across all product categories observed.

Their interest in baby items, maternity care items and baby food products actually declined by an average of 13%.

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