Is Your Brand On Her Holiday Shopping List?

It’s barely mid-November but moms already have much of their holiday shopping done. Even for marketers who understand this audience, that may seem hard to believe – especially given how time-pressed moms’ lives are today. But according to our 2012 Holiday Survey, due to rapid increases in digital media usage and mobile solutions, moms are planning further in advance than ever before. As a result, 53% of them are doing their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving – only 16% cited Black Friday as the official start of their seasonal shopping. 

That’s not the only change in moms’ purchasing behavior. Though she plans to spend nearly 10% less this holiday season than last, her budget of $750 on gifts for friends and family is now 16% higher than the U.S. average, according to a 2011 American Research Group Study. So mom is shopping earlier and spending less. She’s also finding new ways to research products and brands, getting recommendations from her mobile social networks, and expecting increased convenience and regular discounts. What’s a marketer to do? By better understanding mom’s mindset and new shopping behaviors, marketers have new ways to be noticed and get their products on her must-have list.

A great deal is mom’s favorite gift

When we launched our “Shopping Rituals of the American Mom” report last year, we learned that mom shops for sport, trying to get the best deal. During the holidays, with so much more to buy, she wants more than ever to score big. Our latest data shows that nearly 9 in 10 moms say they will pay more attention to deal-related advertising over the holidays – a 10% increase over last year. And 3 in 5 tell us that a retail promotion has the power to sway where they’ll buy. In fact, 44% cite deals as the biggest influencer to making a purchase, with 36% even saying that a deal makes way for an unplanned holiday purchase. Fifty-nine percent say that, aside from a discount, free express shipping is a big draw, followed by an easy return policy and extended store hours. 

Holiday hint: Deliver on mom’s wish list -- savings and shopping solutions simplify her life.  

New media choices require a new marketing plan

Mom is faced with a flurry of holiday marketing messages, and for good reason – she represents a $2.4 trillion market, making buying decisions for the entire household, everything from clothes to consumer technologies to stocking stuffers. Time-starved and media-shifted moms tap into an increasing variety of resources to decide what to buy. Television (61%), online (58%), and email (57%) are all important ways to reach her.

While traditional media plays a key role in the mix, digital is a true holiday shopping tool. Seventy-one percent tell us their in-store holiday shopping is greatly influenced by online research – 10% higher than the general population. In fact, 88% say that researching gifts online before trekking to the store ups their confidence that they will find the best gift at the best price. Email marketing also plays a big role in mom’s decision-making process; 40% of moms look for inbox holiday offers from merchants. Social media is right up there with email. During the holiday season, almost 30% of moms turn to parenting social media for inspiration – 45% higher than mainstream social media.

Holiday hint: The 21st century mom is making her list and checking it twice across multiple media platforms. 

Mobile is mom’s holiday helper 

Along with the rapidly evolving media habits of moms, we’ve seen a corresponding rise of new pathways to purchase. Mom’s go-to resource to shop smarter is her smartphone. Moms are 58% more likely than the general population to shop from a mobile device. Based on our September poll, 91% of moms who own a smartphone expect websites to be easily accessed from their mobile device. During the holidays, more than half of moms will use their device to compare prices online, right in the store – a 37% increase in just the past six months alone. And nearly 1 in 4 will scan a bar code for price comparisons – 25% higher than April 2012 data. 

Holiday hint: Mobilizing your message is a must. Make it easy for mom to research and buy from the palm of her hand.

Empowered with the latest tools and technology, the modern mom continues to be the leading indicator for the future of shopping. This holiday season, the brands that meet her when and where she’s shopping -- and deliver on her new expectations -- are going to get to the top of her wish list.

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