The Most Important Stop on Mom's Purchase Journey

On the path to purchase, what sources of information wield the most influence on what shoppers buy? Given the variety of ways consumers share and receive information today, that question has become even more complex for marketers seeking to connect to potential customers. When it comes to making purchases for the kids in the family, parents across the board resoundingly named their child as the key purchase driver, with virtually all parents indicating their child is the essential source of information in the decision-making process. 

Falling almost 20% below kids on the essential source list were experiential-based referrals, including recommendations, parents’ own review of products and services and online reviews on shopping sites. Search engines rounded out the top five with 60% of parents naming them as an essential source of guidance when shopping for their kids. Interestingly, advertising across a variety of different digital and traditional platforms was found further down the list.



When looking at the various sources of information by gender, notable differences emerged. For example, the long-time adage that the best source of information for a mom is another mom (with a child just a few months older) held true. The data revealed moms are significantly more likely than dads to rely on shopper reviews found on shopping websites when considering a purchase for their children. Dads, on the other hand, are significantly more likely to value traditional advertising such as TV commercials, ads in movie theaters, as well as newspaper and magazine advertising when considering a purchase for their kids. 

That is not to say that dads are not digital information seekers. They were significantly more likely than mothers to find search engines, online video sites, ads on websites and ads on social networks important sources of shopping intelligence. For example, fathers were 26% more likely than mothers to name online video sites as an important provider of shopping information. 

As we know, “moms” are not a homogenous group and as such, demographic differences emerged when looking at the impact of different information sources across subgroups. For example, Asian moms (52%) were more than twice as likely as Caucasian mothers to name blogs as a key resource in their decision-making process. Almost twice as many African-American moms found ads in movie theaters to deliver important information when compared to Caucasian mothers. Hispanic and Asian moms were the most likely of all the mom subgroups to say ads on social networks yielded vital learnings when shopping for products for their children.

As marketers seek to connect to, engage with and inform moms in today’s complex communication environment, leveraging the strengths of myriad sources of information they depend on can be quite challenging. Therefore, marketers must mirror consumer behavior and utilize a multitude of research resources in their quest to develop a deep and long-lasting relationship. The need for actionable, data-based insights has never been more critical in the development of messaging to these empowered and enquiring consumers.

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