The royal baby boost to the economy

As Prince George spends his first few days tucked away in in relative privacy with his parents and grandparents, on every high street in the country, hundreds of retailers' websites, on the front cover of magazines crowding newsagents' racks is evidence that business is trying to cash in on the royal birth - and in a big way.

The Gro Company has launched the limited edition bespoke His and Her Royal Grobag for newborns. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

While some might find this not perhaps in the best possible taste the royals themselves are not shy of taking part, with special baby goods being sold at their palaces - which newborn doesn't need a pair of Union Jack bootees that cost more than thirty pounds?

The range of what is on offer goes from the sublime to the ridiculous - commemorative washing powder to a six thousand pound rocking horse.

How much could the royal birth boost the UK economy? Credit: The Tonight Programme

And on the Tonight programme we reveal just how big a benefit this could provide to the economy.

Read: Wacky royal baby collectibles appear across the Internet

Prince George with his father Prince William. Credit: PA Wire

The numbers are not to be sniffed at.

Research for 'Kate's Baby Bounce' suggests the birth of the royal baby will help the British baby market grow to over £2.3 billion in the first few years of its life - an increase of nearly 20%.

And manufacturers of luxury goods are likely to benefit the most with the market expected to be worth nearly £500 million by 2018.

Julie Scott puts the final touches on a Rocking Horse, a souvenir to commemorate the birth of the royal baby. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Find out just how big a benefit the royal baby could prove to be for the UK economy. Credit: The Tonight Programme

In 2012 the market was estimated to be worth £1.958 billion but the Centre for Retail Research estimates that will hit £2.33 billion by 2018 as retailers and manufacturers capitalise on the marketing opportunities in the first few years of Prince George's life.

And those trying to make the most of birth financially have good reason to.

Read: World sees first pictures of William and Kate's royal baby

The Happyland Royal baby set. Credit: Early Learning Centre/PA Wire

Canny fashion houses have already been hugely helped by the so called 'Kate effect'. She wears something, it sells out, creating new business for the retailer.

On the programme meet the owner of one tiny Scottish tartan mill who explains how Kate choosing one of their scarves has helped to save what was a struggling business.

William and Kate hold their newborn Prince outside the Lindo Wing. Credit: PA

And we meet the shoppers in the United States whose obsession with Kate's wardrobe have given british brands like Reiss and LK Bennett access to the huge American market.

Like it or not, as the royals themselves know, the family is a brand. And at a time when the economy is only just starting to pick up, business is poised to cash in.

Watch Kate's Baby Bounce: Tonight, at 19:30 on ITV