Motherhood Changes Shopping Habits

November 10, 2011

babycenter-moms-shopping-criteria.jpgBecoming a mother has a profound effect on the importance of various purchase criteria to women, according to a November 2011 report from BabyCenter, in association with comScore. Data from “Shopping Rituals of the American Mom” indicates that 95% of mothers find comfort and price to be important criteria when shopping for apparel, followed by versatility and ease of cleaning (both at 86%). Prior to becoming mothers, design / look (92%), self-expression (82%) and color choice (82%) were important to most women, while price (65%), comfort (59%), and versatility (54%) were of appeal to a smaller subset.

Self-Expression Loses to Safety

During the transition to motherhood, the most important purchase criteria when shopping for personal care products change from fragrance and the reflection of personality to price, up 40% to the #1 spot, safety, up 33% to the #2 spot, and low maintenance looks, up 57% to #3 on the list.

According to a BabyCenter survey released in March 2011, motherhood also influences the way mothers use their mobile phones, with the most important features of a mother’s phone changing transitioning from her address book and text messaging to her camera and video camera.

Wallets Open for New Roles

The study also suggests that mothers spend more online to support their new roles. Compared to the general public, mothers spend 103% more on video games, 82% more on office supplies, 68% more on apparel, 48% more on photo printing, and 32% more on party supplies. Interestingly, they also outspend the general public online by 96% for hardware and software.

Future Spending Also Planned

babycenter-mom-shopping.jpgNot surprisingly, mothers plan to outspend the public in the next 12 months in areas such as groceries ($4,440 compared to $3,460), home improvement ($1,130 vs. $370), and auto ($4,820 vs. $4,030). However, they are also planning to spend 26% more on travel than the general public ($820 vs. $650) and 36% more on electronics ($340 vs. $250).

Other Findings

  • 3 in 4 mothers shopping online in the past 30 days, while 2 in 3 made an online purchase during that time.
  • 39% of mothers say their time online is the most peaceful time of their day.
  • Mothers are 63% more likely than the general public to shop at wholesale clubs, and 32% more likely to shop at big box retailers. In January 2010, a Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) survey conducted by BIGresearch found that when it comes to shopping for clothes, 32.9% of mothers prefer department stores and 23.2% head to specialty apparel stores.

About the Data: BabyCenter’s report findings are the result of in-depth surveys conducted among over 8,000 online mothers visiting the BabyCenter US site in Summer 2011. A general population survey was also conducted with 1,000 internet representative adults from the comScore panel. comScore also conducted a behavioral analysis by analyzing online purchases across categories among their 1 million opt-in panelists.

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