Connecting With Millennial Moms: Shopping and Media Habits

Posted by Anna Keagy on February 15, 2017

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From diapers to food, clothes to toys—most moms make significant purchase decisions for their households. Today, nearly 90 percent of new moms are Millennials, with the average age of 26 for first-time moms, which makes them a particularly important consumer segment for brands and marketers to understand.

The amount spent on children is no small number. U.S. moms spend an average of $13,127 on a child annually, according to BabyCenter’s 2015 State of Modern Motherhood report.

Motherhood is also a catalyst for changing purchase criteria across a wide range of categories. Here are just a few examples:

  • 63 percent of U.S. Millennial moms change their purchase criteria for groceries/food/beverage
  • 52 percent for cleansers/detergent
  • 48 percent for personal care/cosmetics
  • And, safety is the top criteria that they put importance on for their everyday purchases.

This flux in shopping behavior gives brands the opportunity to win—or retain—new moms’ business.

Moms, especially Millennial moms, are often acutely aware of the ingredients in the foods and personal care products they buy. Nearly half of U.S. Millennial moms say natural/wholesome ingredients are an important consideration when making everyday purchase decisions. For example, in 2014, 36 percent of said they regularly bought organic foods and beverages for their child(ren), a significant jump from 2006 when only 12 percent said the same.

So, besides ingredients, what is important to Millennial moms when making brand and purchase decisions? According to Goldman Sachs’ 2015 Millennial Moms report, important brand characteristics include “understands what matters to me as a parent,” “shares my values” and “recommended by other parents.”

Millennial moms are characterized by a unique value system that includes the following:

  • Tech-enabled innovation
  • Frictionless execution across multiple distribution channels and media
  • Instant gratification (driven by immediate access to information through smart mobile devices)
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Authentic narratives

While there has been a rise of small brands that tailor their offerings to meet Millennial moms’ needs and preferences, it doesn’t negate larger, well-known companies. However, it does mean that incumbent brands are potentially at risk of losing market share. Many of them may need to evolve brands that they already have or acquire new brands if they want to continue to be relevant to Millennial moms.

Brands like The Honest Company, with its line of natural baby and personal care products, have surged in popularity among Millennial moms. There is also an influx of lesser-known niche brands that attract a smaller, but very loyal following (examples include companies selling baby wraps and carriers, organic baby clothes, cloth diapers, etc.).

Besides having unique preferences about brands and products, Millennial moms also represent a shift in media usage, particularly driven by use of mobile devices. According to eMarketer, 70 percent of Millennial moms go online most frequently through their phone compared to 30 percent of non-Millennial moms.

This is backed up by BabyCenter’s report, which indicates that U.S. Millennial moms say they find they use their smartphone more and their laptop/desktop PC less since becoming pregnant/a mom. When they go online, parenting communities, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube tend to dominate their time. They use Tumbler and Twitter less.

Given these trends, it’s no surprise that one-quarter of U.S. Millennial moms do half or more of their shopping online and eight in 10 use their phone for shopping while in-store. Moms want a seamless, integrated shopping experience, whether they chose to shop online, in-store or some combination thereof.

Since Millennial moms spend so much time online, they indicate that they frequently notice ads on digital (smartphone/tablet/laptop/PC). The top thing they say will likely get their attention is a digital ad featuring deals, sales or other money-saving offers.

While digital is certainly a key media area for brands to focus on, moms do still watch TV, although technology means that moms may skip TV commercials. Despite this, they do still rank TV as one of the top places that they notice ads, so this form of advertising is still worth considering.

In addition to more traditional forms of advertising, brands should keep in mind the power of influencer marketing. Influencers are powerful for a variety of consumer segments. Considering how much time moms tend to spend online, using bloggers or social media influencers to reach moms has the potential to be particularly successful. Seeing something promoted by a blogger they trust makes moms far more likely to make a purchase.

For brands wanting to reach Millennial moms, here are a few key takeaways to consider:

  • Maximize on Millennial moms’ changing shopping criteria: This is a key time to win them as loyal customers.
  • Focus on what is important to Millennial Moms: Safety is paramount and they want transparency with ingredients and sourcing. Many moms will gravitate toward more natural options, given the choice.
  • Ensure a seamless shopping experience: Millennial moms will expect a smooth shopping process, both in-store and online.

As Millennials enter motherhood in increasing numbers, they will continue to be a driving force in household purchase decisions for years to come. Brands and marketers must continue to adjust to win and retain Millennial moms’ loyalty.

Topics: Insights