The Big Opportunity With Smartphone Moms - Branding Not Shopping

A variety of studies over the past year have confirmed that moms, really, really like smartphones. Estimates range, but we can safely say that between 50 and 90% of moms of young children have smartphones. And they spend a significantly longer amount of time on their phones using apps and visiting websites than non-moms.

But what they are not doing is shopping. In fact, most smartphones users aren’t.

New data from the 2013 Black Friday shopping period- which now runs from Thanksgiving Day through the following Tuesday, shows that online sales were up an average of 20% during the period. Mobile traffic also exploded, with traffic from tablets and smartphones up over 30% on Black Friday.

But, let’s dig a little deeper. First, the definition of mobile traffic, which I have complained about here and here, includes both smartphones, which are mobile, and tablets which often are not and certainly not often at point of sale, in the store.



In fact, smartphones contributed a paltry 7% of all online sales this year, while tablets doubled that number. The majority of online sales came from laptop and desktop computers this year.  We can expect tablets to increase their share of online sales next year, but perhaps not as much as one might expect because of a technology issue that impacts both tablets and smartphones and explains why exactly I chose to headline this article, “The Big Opportunity With Smartphone Moms – Branding Not Shopping.”

Currently, most mobile shopping is done from Apple devices; yup, those mobile sale numbers are mostly from iOS.  More expensive, more often used by the tech savvy, they are often just better aligned with online shopping. However, the explosion in tablets and smartphones is in the Android, Windows and other, cheaper, less robust technologies.  But … even with an iPhone, shopping just isn’t that easy or fun. 

So moms shop from the comfort of their homes on their laptops and compare prices, get ideas and share product pics on Instagram, Facebook and other social sites from their phones. Since moms spend much more time with their phones than they do with their computers, for most companies, a mobile strategy should focus on awareness, increasing usage and branding, not shopping. 

While this is a boon for manufacturers who sell through retail, as opposed to direct, for ecommerce sites a focus on branding rather than selling through mobile might make some sense too. We all know that the three big social sites for moms — Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest — are at a tipping point with the majority of their traffic looking like it will come from mobile in the next few years.  E-commerce sites that can tap into that by improving their sharing functions on product pages and increasing their presence on social platforms, blogs and publishing sites. The final sales may not come through mobile, but mom’s browsing on her smartphone offers a big branding opportunity.

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