A generation or two ago, the single mom -- whether divorced or never married – was hardly a marketing target. Her numbers were relatively small, she typically had no financial clout and, if anyone talked about her at all, it often was in whispers.
That has changed, big time.
Today, it’s not just everyone’s favorite celebrities who opt for single-mom status. Currently, there are about 10 million single mothers in the U.S. with children younger than 18; about 40% of all children now are born to single mothers.
Yet contrary to the longstanding image of the single mom – young and from a lower socio-economic background -- these moms are older (average age: 39) and about one-third have a live-in partner. While they do tend to have lower household incomes than married moms, about 80% work.
The circumstances of their pregnancies also often defy traditional perceptions. "That old-fashioned idea that a single mother is someone who got pregnant by accident or didn't want a child is just not true anymore. These days, there are plenty of single moms by choice," said Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents/American Baby, in a recent Advertising Age article.
A recent Women at NBCU study divided single moms into four groups, each with its own very different set of experiences, influence and value to marketers:
Each of these single mom segments offers opportunities for marketers, whether it’s a lower-income mom influencing friends through digital connections or the more mature and higher-earning mom with money to spend. For those companies who have been ignoring the increasing growth in the number of single moms or thinking of them in terms of the age-old stereotypes, now is the time to reconsider.