Retailers are glomming onto a new category of spender, the woman who hasn't had kids yet, but dotes on her nieces, nephews, godkids or any special kid in her life. They call us PANKs, Professional Aunt No Kids. I've been in this demographic for a while and at first I wasn't sure how I felt about my new name.
Surely I fit the bill. I love having my seven nieces and nephews visit me and finding presents for them. But they're heading off to college now. So, I made myself the unofficial godmother of a friend's wonderful (but godparentless) middle school daughter, hoping to extend my reign as the cool aunt.
The Charlotte Observer reports that because women are increasingly putting off having kids and while they don't have any of their own, they do have money to spend on other people's kids. A Census report on fertility shows that 20% of women aged 40 to 44 don't have any kids, up from 10% 30 years ago. More than a quarter of women aged 30-34 have no kids.
"People are just starting to realize how huge this segment is," Melanie Notkin, founder of SavvyAuntie.com, told the Observer. "We're talking about all the cool aunts, all the great-aunts, godmothers and women who have special children in their lives, but who may not be part of the Mommy Club." Ok, if you put it like that, I guess I'm a PANK.
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