18 December 2015
       

A half century after the Baby Boomers embraced the feminist movement, "next-gen leaders" believe "there are no inherently male or female roles in society," notes the venerated policy weekly National Journal.

Despite the equality that suggests, research shows Millennial Moms are responsible for the great majority of buying decisions in their families, notes Thimon De Jong of the Dutch strategy consultancy TrendsActive.

And for good reason: Women’s earned income is rising, and growing at 8.1 percent versus 5.8 percent for men, notes the Harvard Business Review. FleishmanHillard estimates women will control two-thirds of U.S. consumer wealth over the next decade, while Nielsen says they are already there, controlling 80 percent of all consumer purchases.

That adds up to somewhere between $5-$15 trillion annually, notes Nielsen. And it means women control the bulk of their families’ purchasing decisions, ranging from little things, such as groceries, incidentals and toys, to big-ticket items including homes and cars. In fact, in December 2013, women bought 39 percent of all cars, according toUSA Today.

So that means the future of much business is in the hands, or more accurately purse strings, of Millennial Moms, as De Jong notes.

After all, they are the generation that is expected to take over the marketplace as other generations pass, and more of them are likely to become Moms as they age. Weber-Shandwick notes 22 percent of Moms are Millennials right now, but this 86-miillion strong cohort ranges in age from 18-33, notes Pew Research, and the 2013 report “The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage In America” from Knot Yet points out that 44 percent of woman have their first baby by age 25.

So knowing how today’s Moms shop offers all businesses producing and selling them products an advantage. And here’s one critical fact we know: Moms consult the Internet 27 percent of the time via their mobile phones before making purchasing decisions, notes Hemispheres. This enables them to connect with fellow mothers or to discover specific product information. But on the flip side, this means businesses must beware:

When something goes wrong, everyone hears about it quickly as at times the snafu goes viral via social media. So consumers and brands themselves may learn abut problems in real time—together.

How Moms’ Brand Loyalty Has Changed

Here’s another difference between Millennial Moms and their predecessors: When they do decide to buy, brand loyalty is not as top of mind as it was for their Moms. They often choose private-label products to save money. They may also put their children’s needs ahead of their own and not splurge as they may have before becoming parents, as noted in a survey of 29,000 mothers in the United Kingdom. Only new Moms often seek out big-name brands for their babies, however “they often make their decisions based on guilt rather than practicality, even when it is clearly proven that a high-profile brand offers no clear benefits over other far less expensive options,” notes a study from Kelton Research.

Guilt can be a strong motivator at other times too. In the grocery store, Moms often face the tugs of their little ones’ hands while they ask: “Mom, can we get this?” Their children’s pleas carry weight, as we described in an earlier blog post.

However, 64 percent of Millennials do say they feel at least as much brand loyalty to their favorite brands as their parents do to theirs—but 77 percent note they use a very different set of criteria in selecting those brands, notes “The New Age of Brand Loyalty,” a March 2014 study from Adroit Digital. And 78 percent say brands have to work harder to earn their loyalty than they did to earn their parents’ loyalty.

Like De Jong, Adroit Digital and Kelton Research point out there are plenty of ways to connect with Millennial Moms.

How To Earn Millennial Moms’ Brand Loyalty

Develop products that appeal to Moms’ desire to save money. The Adroit Digital study shows that for all Millennials, the most important criteria for choosing a brand are value and price.

Develop eco-friendly products. Women are more concerned about environmentally friendly products, notes the Adroit Digital study. Companies should create sophisticated offerings that boast the attractive qualities that attract Millennial Moms, such as sustainable packaging and natural ingredients.

Post product information online. Because Moms are short on time and don’t always want to bring their children shopping, they will research products prior to purchase via the Internet at home or while watching a soccer game. Companies can attract these Moms by being transparent, offering product details on a website and enabling Moms to share tips or hold conversations in an online community.

Have a social conscience. This means not only helping to save the environment, but also showing they care about families. In fact, several years ago, one study found that 95 percent of Moms like to shop for a cause, so donating a portion of profits to a worthy cause can help all involved.

Promote kid-friendly packaging and formulationsVita Coco received a number of awards earlier this year for several of its kids’ drinks. In fact, Food and Beverage Packaging highlighted the package’s kid-friendly traits, noting that the Tetra Wedge® Aseptic “with an attached straw and simple straw insertion was chosen because it fits comfortably in kids’ hands and easily into lunch boxes, cup holders and Mom’s purse.”

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