Commentary

An International Love Story: Mobile And The Millennial Mom

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it's only fitting to talk about a passionate love affair happening around the world: the relationship between Millennial moms and their smartphones.

Mobile is Mom's true love

We've been aware of this love affair for years, but recent research shows just how hot and heavy it's become in countries all over the world. According to our just-released 2015 State of Modern Motherhood: Mobile and Media in the Lives of Moms, which was conducted in partnership with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, moms in the United States, Brazil, Canada, and China now spend more time on their mobile devices than they spend watching television. In the UK, they're not far behind, with mobile numbers approaching parity with TV. 

Clearly, smartphone ownership is on the rise worldwide, and our study shows that in the United States it has finally outpaced computer ownership among moms, with 90% of them now owning a smartphone (versus 65% in 2012). The numbers are impressive in other countries as well:

  • Brazil – 76% own a smartphone today (versus 25% in 2012)
  • Canada – 94% own a smartphone today (versus 59% in 2012)
  • China – 95% own a smartphone today (versus 62% in 2012)
  • UK – 93% own a smartphone today (versus 73% in 2012)

Changing priorities, shifting mobile usage

Our study found that motherhood has a big influence on smartphone usage around the world. In all five countries studied, women reported that their smartphone usage has gone up – in amounts from 59% (in Brazil) to 76% (in China) – since they became pregnant or gave birth.

The transition to motherhood also marks a dramatic shift in brand preferences among these women – and consequently, a substantial opportunity for mobile marketers.

For example, almost two-thirds (63%) of Millennial moms in the United States say that their purchase criteria for food and beverage products have changed since having kids, with more than half (52%) feeling the same way about cleansers and detergents. The numbers are also significant for personal care and cosmetics (48%), financial services (42%), apparel and accessories (41%), and consumer electronics (35%). While these shifts in brand choices are not identical in every nation surveyed, we did find significant changes in those other countries as well.

Mobile messaging that speaks to moms' hearts

So we know Millennial moms are looking for new brand relationships, and we know the best way to reach them is through their smartphones. How should marketers put these insights into action?

Above all, you should craft your communications with care – especially if you're hoping to reach a global audience. Our study shows that while some types of messaging are consistently appealing in many Western countries, there are significant differences in how that creative is perceived in China.

For example, Millennial moms in the United States, Brazil, Canada, and the UK said that digital ads featuring money-saving offers were more appealing than ads that were relevant to their life stage or the age of their child. By contrast, their counterparts in China considered both types of ads equally attention-getting. Also, while 76% of moms in the United States said that visuals of a family together would be most likely to catch their eye in interactive marketing, only 46% said the same in China.

So for anyone hoping to reach Millennial moms on a global scale, remember: Think small in terms of screen size, but think big in terms of engagement and relevance. Follow that simple formula, and you'll be sure to win Mom's heart for good.

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