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Millennials Embrace Mobile Motherhood

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Millennials — those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — have been characterized as the “me generation.” However, females in this age group are acquiring a larger share of the “mom market,” and as such, their wants and needs are quickly shifting. 

The vast majority (83%) of new moms are Millennials, and this consumer group is expected to spend about $1.3 trillion in 2014 alone. As a result, Millennials are a key market for CPG brands and multichannel retailers, according to new research from BabyCenter.

The Millennial Mom Report, which is the latest installment of BabyCenter’s 21st Century Mom Insights Series, offered a detailed look into the browsing and buying habits of this consumer group, as well as how they use technology to accomplish day-to-day tasks.

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{loadposition TSHBAIAA022014} “Millennials are digital natives,” said Mike Fogarty, SVP and Global Publisher at BabyCenter, during a New York City event. “They grew up with Facebook, Netflix and iTunes. In fact, Millennials invented some of the hottest technologies we use every day.”

Because Millennials are inherently tech savvy, they have an arsenal of tools and technologies at their disposal. In fact, Millennial moms have instant access to laptops (83%), smartphones (81%), streaming TV subscriptions (53%), tablets (47%) and desktop PCs (43%).

Compared to Gen X moms born between the early 1960s and the 1980s, Millennials spend more time on smartphones and tablets each day: While Gen Xers spend 1.2 hours a day on smartphones and 0.4 hours on tablets a day, Millennials spend 1.7 and 0.5 hours, respectively.

Winning Over Millennial Moms

Millennials are relying on mobile technology to manage their lives, from coupons, to shopping and to-do lists, to banking.  At least once a month, Millennial moms use their smartphones and/or tablets to: 

  • Look up a recipe (76%) 
  • Search or browse for parenting advice (76%) 
  • Manage finances or pay pills (69%) 
  • Make a purchase (64%) 

Mobile has been especially valuable to this group of women as they strive to learn more about pregnancy and parenting, and seek out support from peers.

“Think about a woman who is pregnant and has morning sickness,” Fogarty explained. “If it was 20 years ago, she’d pick up a book and go to the index to find ‘morning sickness,’ or call her doctor or a friend and say ‘I don’t feel good.’ Now, she can search in Google and get 33,000 search results. The modern mom needs to sift through all this information and get the support she needs.”

Interestingly, the BabyCenter survey also concluded that 44% of Millennial moms made a purchase using their smartphone within a week’s time. Fogarty noted that the mobile trend “is not going backwards. It’s only going to increase.” He added that they’re fluent with the technology and use it to transact because “it’s easy and fast.”

Millennial moms also use their mobile devices to:

  • Redeem mobile coupons (72%)
  • Search for products to comparison shop while in a store (71%) 
  • Text or email a photo of a product to someone else (71%) 
  • Access a retailer-specific app (45%) 
  • Scan a product code (45%) 
  • Post to a social media site about a purchase (23%) 

Smartphones also empower Millennial moms to stay connected and socialize despite their hectic schedules. In fact, Fogarty reaffirmed that social “is a fundamental part of the modern mom’s experience.”

At least once a day, Millennial Moms use their smartphones and tablets to access social media (79%), take/share photos and videos (60%), listen to music (52%) and watch videos (27%). Of all social networks, Millennial moms said Facebook (86%), YouTube (58%), Pinterest (46%) and Instagram (30%) were their favorites.

“Understanding what moms are looking for, when and why is really critical when you think about getting a message out there and how you should utilize the platforms and media these Millennials are consuming,” Fogarty said. “Because they’re not doing the same thing in different places.”

It also is paramount that businesses understand what Millennial moms expect from the brands and retailers they are loyal to. Compared to Gen X moms, Millennials, overall, think it’s important that brands and retailers understand their wants and needs, and share similar values.

Following is a breakdown of characteristics that Millennials and Gen Xers believe are most important in a company. They believe companies should:

  • Understand what matters to them as parents (58% vs. 44%) 
  • Share their values (49% vs. 38%) 
  • Be recommended by other parents (46% vs. 39%) 
  • Offer real-time customer service (37% vs. 28%) 
  • Be recommended by experts (35% vs. 20%) 
  • Give back to the community and be socially responsible (30% vs. 18%) 
  • Support organizations that are important to them (27% vs. 18%)
  • Have a strong social media presence (9% vs. 6%) 

Based on this feedback, BabyCenter compiled a set of three best practices for engaging and winning the loyalty of Millennial moms.

1. Understand her unique brand needs: Shared values, real-time support and mobile tools are essential.

2. Give her something good to talk about: Positive experiences, ease of use and brand values are key. Showing that the brand aligns with the lifestyle will help create a positive sentiment.

3. Be a part of her network of influence: Millennial consumers seek input and advice from a variety of sources. It is important that brands and retailers are a part of the conversation and are available to share feedback and resources when a potential customer is in need.

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