Every Day is Mother's Day

April 30, 2001--NUA analysis


Remember the soccer moms? They were regarded as the key voters in the 1996 US Presidential Elections. If a politician could appeal to those suburban middle-class mothers, the pundits said, he or she would be virtually guaranteed a stint in the White House. In the end the soccer moms, who had leaned towards Republican candidates in the past, plumped for Bill Clinton and he became the 42nd President of the United States.

Internet marketers would do well to remember the soccer moms, because surfing moms are now one of the key online audiences. According to a study released last week by NetValue, over half of women who use the Internet in the US, and over 60 percent of wired women in Britain, have children. In other parts of Europe, that figure varies between 30 and 50 percent.

Furthermore, a study from CyberAtlas and Disney that we reported on last month found that online moms believe that the Internet has brought their families closer together. Email is seen as a great communications tool for families while almost all the mothers surveyed said that the Internet is a good educational tool for their children and for themselves. Ninety percent said it saved them time while 85 percent said the Internet has made their lives simpler.

Even more interesting for those promoting goods and services aimed at the family market, half of the mothers surveyed said their child had influenced them to make an online purchase, while 42 percent had been influenced to click an advertisement on a website.

For a long time, online advertisers and marketers aimed their campaigns directly at children, believing that children would buy online, using their parents' credit cards or a special online payment service. In fact, far fewer children than expected are now buying online while their mothers are actively purchasing on the Web.

Women dominate the retail arena in the offline world so it only makes sense that they would come to do so online too. Greenfield Online found last December that more women than men were making purchases online, and they are more likely to buy clothing, and health and beauty products, and as likely to buy CDs and airline tickets. Other recent surveys have found that women spend more time online than men, and are more likely to click on banner ads than men.

So how do marketers attract Web-savvy mothers? Greenfield Online found in another study that moms with Internet access were most likely to buy from merchants they saw as "baby-friendly". For example, the online mothers preferred to buy airline tickets from American Airlines and Delta because those airlines offered child discounts, child safety seats, and pre-boarding for people with young children. They liked buying from Holiday Inn because they knew those hotels would have safety bars on the balcony and safety locks on cabinets.

It's also worth focusing campaigns on different types of mothers. For example, MSN found that new mothers were very likely to shop online so they wouldn't have to go to the mall. New mothers are also the most likely of all women Internet users to seek expert advice online and visit websites devoted to family, children, and online games.

Meanwhile, last week's NetValue survey found that women's preferences for types of Internet sites varied depending on the number of children they had. Women with only one child were most likely to visit fashion and beauty sites, while women with three or more kids were most likely to engage in online communication, such as email.

Of course, if you really want to gain a woman's loyalty, you can help her plan her wedding. Greenfield also found last year that the Internet is now the most trusted resource for bridal information for women who have Internet access. Sniffing mothers and jealous friends have been jilted by the modern woman for the pain free pleasure of planning her nuptials online.

Best regards,
Kathy Foley

Related links

Internet habits of online moms revealed, Nua Internet Surveys

It's a family affair for web-savvy moms, Nua Internet Surveys

More women than men are buying online, Greenfield Online

Sixty percent of women click on banners, Nua Internet Surveys

Women use the Web more than men, Nua Internet Surveys

Baby-friendly companies, Greenfield Online

Brides online, Greenfield Online