New Reality of Marketing to Older Moms

Jul 19, 2010

By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

For the past several years,
one pundit after another has observed that more women are waiting longer to
start their families. Whether they want to build careers or simply need to
earn money to help support themselves and their partners, it seems that the
ticking of biological clocks has to be loud and clear before many women decide
to settle down to motherhood.

Experian Marketing Services has now taken a look
at the consumer patterns of those older mothers.

"The universe of moms of children 18 and under who are 35 plus has grown
from 40.9 million to 44.9 million in just four years," Jan Jindra, Experian
product manager, told Marketing Daily, part of Mediapost.

Some of the survey data from the latest Experian Simmons National Consumer
Study, provided to RetailWire, revealed some attitudinal differences
between moms over the age of 35 and those under 35:

  • Thirty-three percent of moms surveyed older than 35 agreed that advertising
    helps them choose products to buy for their children versus 39 percent of
    moms under 35;
  • Forty-two percent of moms over 35 agreed their children had a significant
    impact on the brands they choose versus 35 percent for those under 35;
  • Thirty-seven percent of moms over 35 said they find it difficult to say
    no to their kids versus 32 percent of those under 35;
  • Forty percent of moms over 35 don’t like it when their children ask
    for non-essential purchases versus 36 percent of moms under 35.

However, where older mothers could be expected to have an interest in buying
so-called "green" products, younger mothers are also shifting from
membership in the category dubbed  ‘Potential Greens’ into the ‘Thinking Green’
and ‘Buying Green’ categories.

"While older consumers tend to be more ‘green’
in their purchase patterns,"
data supports the growth of green behaviors among moms 18-35 providing "a
unique opportunity for green marketers to get and keep this consumer segment
at a young age," the study stated. Exposure to this segment of the consumer
population "lays potentially life-long brand commitment and revenue streams
for marketers offering a wide-range of products."

The survey featured
23,575 randomly selected, nationally representative, adults ages 18 and older
of which 3,669 were mothers with children in the home. It was conducted continuously,
between February 2009 and March 2010, using dual phone and mail recruitment.

Discussion Questions: Are retailers and brands making enough changes to
meet the needs of older mothers? What changes do you think are most important
for retailers and brands to make if they want to connect with this consumer

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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9 Comments on "New Reality of Marketing to Older Moms"

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Nikki Baird
Nikki Baird
10 years 9 months ago
Urg. I fall into this category of “older mom” and let me tell you, your marketing along these lines had better be REALLY subtle, because the last thing I want to be labeled is an “older” mother. Maybe it’s true that this segment is a little more set in its ways and more inclined toward green products, and maybe more certain of the brands they know and trust. But I think it’s safe to say that a mother’s buying habits have more to do with the age of her children than with her own age, and not just because of what she buys for her kids, but also because of her ability to shop with them. Personally, we’ve just entered the realm of “potty-free” – if you think ditching the diapers is great, wait until you’re out of the bathroom altogether. It definitely changes your perspective on how much time you have available to shop. And I think a 35+ year old mother with an 8-year-old will find an awful lot to talk about with… Read more »
Max Goldberg
10 years 9 months ago

Moms crave convenience and time savings. Retailers that provide this will see an uptick in business from moms, regardless of age.

Kai Clarke
10 years 9 months ago

This is a poor set of statistics. The differences are subtle, (they appear to be within the margin of error for most surveys of these types), inconclusive and do not necessarily point to a “new reality of marketing” to older mothers. Why weren’t there 3 sets of target markets? Or even 4? Where is the younger set of mothers and how are they differentiated in this?

Sandy Miller
Sandy Miller
10 years 9 months ago

All shoppers benefit from interesting, informative Reasons To Buy messaging. The question I have is “Why is this vital point being ignored?”

Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 9 months ago

I believe marketing to “older mothers” is dependent on the ages of her children more than any other factor. I am not sure of the importance of this survey and what it really tells us.

I fall into the younger grandfather with younger grandchildren category. What are the marketers going to do to attract me?

Gene Hoffman
Gene Hoffman
10 years 9 months ago

Give unto the mother queen that which meets her whims as an older woman. Give unto younger ladies in waiting that which appeals to theirs. Why? They just like different things, different looks and search for different ways to be appealing.

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
10 years 9 months ago

Shopper marketing, engagement and most importantly, loyalty, should be driven by value-based insight into the customer and making sure that if you have labels, they are a true representation of that segment’s (no matter how small) needs.

Janet Dorenkott
Janet Dorenkott
10 years 9 months ago

I have 3 sisters. We’re all Moms. I am the second youngest and had my kids in my early 20s. My older sisters all had kids after 35. Do I see a difference? YES! I now have 3 kids in college and my older sisters have kids in grade school.

Biggest difference…I had no money at 22. They do. My kids wore cloth diapers while I finished college and I made meals from scratch. On the other hand, my third grade niece has a cell phone and the best of everything. Also, when you’re young with kids and no money, your kids ARE your social life because you have to scrape by. Moms over 35 generally have life figured out and a solid money situation.

Second biggest difference…participation level. My sisters all do a lot with their kids, but their stamina is not that of a 25 year old.

Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens
10 years 9 months ago

In general, retailers are painfully slow to anticipate and adapt to most demographic changes and late child-rearing is no exception.

The article doesn’t really delve into the root causes but as Janet points out, they’re likely financially driven. The rise in the cost of housing alone since the late 1990s was enough to extend the child-bearing curve.


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