Lingerie, iPads: Mexican kid-free couples fuel high-end boom

Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:20am EDT
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By Alexandra Alper and Elinor Comlay

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - While their parents may have scrimped and saved to raise small armies of children on a single paycheck, growing numbers of high-earning Mexican couples are putting the department store before the baby carriage.

Couples with dual incomes but no kids, or "Dinks," are on the rise in Mexico, nearly doubling since 2005. They are buoying a growing high-end goods market, splashing out on everything from expensive lingerie to home decor.

Though just over a million in number, the couples are a gold mine for leading brands, and their spending habits are shoring up consumer demand as Mexico's economy cools.

Sandra Rodarte, 27, an events producer who shops for Apple products and loves fine whiskies, drops at least 10,000 pesos ($780) a month on non-essentials like annual trips to the United States.

She and her live-in boyfriend have no plans to raise a family, she explains while lunching at the exclusive marble-clad shopping mall, Antara, in downtown Mexico City.

"It's more fun, freer ... as a person and as a couple," said Rodarte, who is conscious that being a Dink means going against the grain in a culture that values marriage and motherhood. "Of course there are stigmas. Here in Mexico, women are supposed to leave their homes in white to get married as virgins."

Little data exists on how much Mexican Dinks spend, but a 2008 study by consulting firm De la Riva Group found that each couple shells out about 165,000 pesos ($12,900) per annum, largely on movies, restaurants and bars - or some 220 billion pesos ($17.17 billion) in total.

That infusion is helping to boost Mexico's luxury goods market, which is projected to expand 12 percent this year, on par with growth over the last four years, according to Bain & Company, a consulting firm.   Continued...

Tatiana (L), a licensing compliance expert at software firm, and her partner Josue, a manager in a business development firm, have breakfast at a restaurant in an upscale neighborhood in Mexico City July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Bernardo Montoya