Fad Or Fact?: Social Media Impacts Purchasing Decisions

In the past few years, companies across all categories of business have come to realize that moms rely on social media to help them make decisions about what to buy for their children.

Unfortunately, in many cases, they've reached that conclusion based on little more than the constant hype about "the power of social media."

We wanted to help our clients make decisions based on fact. We wanted to know: Are moms really making their purchasing decisions in response to social media? Toward that end, we commissioned The NPD Group, a leading market research company, to help us find the answer and to provide us with greater insight into how and to what degree social media influences what moms buy.

The just-released study, "Social Media Moms: How Networking Impacts Purchasing Behaviors," provides a comprehensive look not only at what motivates moms' purchasing decisions but also at moms' overall use of social media. Based on responses from a sample of more than 2,000 moms who actively use social media, following are some key findings:

  • 79% of all moms in the U.S. with children under the age of 18 are active in social media.
  • Of these moms, about one in four (23%) said they have purchased a children's product as a result of a recommendation from a social networking site or blog.
  • Online recommendations have even more impact among the most frequent social media users: 43% of active social media moms who use these sites on a daily basis have purchased a children's product as the result of a recommendation from these sites.
  • More than half (55%) of these moms said they made their purchase because of a recommendation from a personal review blog.
  • 40% of these moms made a purchase because of a Facebook recommendation.

The study also provided a very detailed look at the kinds of products moms buy as a result of social media recommendations, specifically what online sources they rely on the most, the types of blogs they prefer to visit, and how moms interact with corporate social media efforts.

The NPD Group fielded an online survey to members of its online panel and to members of the Child's Play Communications online panel. The two different sources provided data to create both a holistic view of U.S. moms and their interaction with social media, as well as a deep-dive into the behaviors and preferences of social media moms. The complete survey is available for purchase from NPD.

Clearly, social media is a dominant force in the lives of mothers, and moms nationwide are making purchasing decisions as a result of the information and advice other moms are providing through social media.

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4 comments about "Fad Or Fact?: Social Media Impacts Purchasing Decisions ".
  1. Ellen Lebowitz from Ellen Lebowitz Press , January 26, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.

    Social media moms do actually exist and, ofcourse, some mommy blogs and web sites are better than others.

    As online publicist for a children's book illustrator, I pretty much discovered which mommy blogs and web sites to pitch and which ones to stay away from.

    So hats off to the NPD Group for their excellent research.

    Thank you.

  2. Stephanie Azzarone from CHILD'S PLAY COMMUNICATIONS , January 26, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.

    Thanks, Ellen. We felt it was important to have a solid fix on what worked and what didn't that we could share with our clients.

  3. Jennifer Rodriguez from Visible Technologies , January 27, 2011 at 6:11 p.m.

    Thank you Stephanie for commissioning research that goes beyond the social hype to find “REAL” answers to the business value and opportunity social media can provide. Studies like these are really important as I think many companies are still struggling with the promise of social channels. Like the findings of this report, we also find in our daily work with brands that social media has a strong impact on purchase decisions. We help our clients become a part of these discussions by helping them better listen, understand and engage with their key consumers online. For example, we help Vail Resorts find people who are thinking about a mountain vacation so they can join the conversation, providing helpful information, answering questions, as well as sending links to some of their online resources.

    Jennifer Rodriguez
    Director of Community Outreach, Visible Technologies

  4. Stephanie Azzarone from CHILD'S PLAY COMMUNICATIONS , January 28, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.

    Thanks, Jennifer. We felt the research was crucial to helping companies understand the mom market. And as you said, listening, understanding and engaging in social media are the keys to effective communication in that space.