The number of increasingly tech-savvy mothers in the US who use social media has jumped 462% since 2006, while the number who use cell phones to go online has increased 348% during the same time period, according to a recent research study from BabyCenter, LLC.?
“The 21st Century Mom Report,” revealed that, in addition to bigger trends shaping motherhood such as comfort with technology and increasing eco-friendliness, becoming a mother is a huge, life-stage transformation that alters a woman’s lifetime purchasing behavior and criteria and triggers a significant re-evaluation of products and brands. For example:
- 85% of moms say having a baby changed their purchasing habits.
- 73% say it changed their purchasing criteria.
- 62% say it changed the brands they purchase.
Before having children, BabyCenter said that women are most concerned about product and service quality, features, and design. After becoming mothers, they are much more likely to shop based on safety, quality, and price.
The study also found that pregnancy and parenthood create a series of entry points which create a timeline of purchases for such things as home renovations, digital cameras, travel and appliances. Based on which products index highest for each stage, the study found moms are 423% more likely to buy a digital camcorder in the first six months of motherhood than prior, and they are 153% more likely to buy life insurance in the latter half of the first year of the child’s life.
Habit & Behavior Insights
The report also identifies and details seven of what BabyCenter calls “faces of 21st century mom,” which, taken together, collectively represent a group of behaviors and habits that contribute to the overall profile of today’s modern mother.
Details about each of these facets are listed below.
1. Social Mom: Social media is mass media.
- The number of moms who use social media regularly (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, BabyCenter Community) has significantly increased from 11% to 63% since 2006; a change of 462%.
- More than four in 10 (44%) percent use social media for word-of-mouth recomendations on brands and products and 73% feel they find trustworthy information about products and services through online communities focused on their specific interests such as parenting.
- Moms tend to use mass-reach networks for socializing and entertainment and content-rich environments, while using mom-centric communities to get information and advice from other moms going through the same experiences at a given time.
2. Media Mom: Naptime is the new primetime.
- When a woman becomes a mom, marketers lose three hours of available media time to engage with her per day as her criteria for media use changes from a focus on entertainment to a focus on getting answers. Because of this, the internet serves the needs of today’s moms better than any other form of media.
- 39% of moms say their time online is often the most peaceful part of their day.
3. Gadget Mom: Today’s moms not intimidated by technology.
- Moms are using PDA technology to manage the hectic family schedule, digital cameras to share family life and gaming consoles to connect with their children.
- The vast majority of moms (91%) never leave the house without their cell phones and, compared with three years ago, are 348% more likely to use a cell phone to go online.
- 55% of today’s moms have replaced the traditional family photo album with an online version.
4. Mealtime Mom: Family dinner takes priority.
- 90% of moms say they eat dinner as a family several times a week, and 50% say dinner is when they reconnect as a family.
- 67% of moms see dinner as the most challenging meal of the day. This leads them to get creative by using packaged foods and enriching their children’s tastes and heritage by incorporating ethnic foods.
- The internet has become moms #1 source (77%) for recipes, significantly more than cookbooks (36%).
5. Eco-Mom: Saving the planet starts at home.
- From 2006 to 2009, the number of moms claiming they actively seek eco-friendly products for their family has increased by 51%.
- The vast majority of moms (92%) say their inspiration to be more eco-friendly comes from concern about their children vs. 42% who want to savethe planet.
- After becoming a parent, moms are 89% more likely to say environmental impact is an important purchase criteria.
6. Dr. Mom: Almost a physician.
- Today’s mom has become the key decision maker in the health and well-being of her family. She comes to appointments armed with information and actively seeks second opinions online and consistently taps into both expert and mom-to-mom wisdom using the internet and social media.
- In online communities, children’s health issues are the leading topic of interest in online communities (91%) followed by childhood development tips (79%) and product reviews (72 %).
7. Power Mom: Empowered and choosing balance.
- 80% of moms today feel they have more power and control over their lives than moms in the 1980s and 1990s.
- 50% of working moms have sought out workplace flexibility to help care for their family.
- One in five moms in the survey plan to off-ramp and then re-enter the workforce later.
- Since 1980 the number of births to unmarried women has increased by 100%, suggesting that when it comes to having children, today’s moms are not bound by tradition.
“To successfully reach today’s mom you need to fully understand how she lives her life,” said Tina Sharkey, chairman and global president, BabyCenter. “The 21st Century Mom has many faces and the more you know about her, the easier it will be to build a relationship that lasts a lifetime- in her laundry room, under her sink and in her garage.”
About the study: The findings in the report are the result of a two-part tracking study conducted with NovaQuant in 2006 and 2009, as well as a series of 18 in-depth surveys conducted by BabyCenter US between January and June, 2009. The report captures the thoughts and opinions of more than 25,000 US moms from BabyCenter’s 21st Century Mom Panel and BabyCenter.com.