Smartphones and Moms are like peanut butter and jelly – they are good on their own, but together they are a perfect pairing. Moms now depend on smartphones and the devices are proving to be as vital as air and water for survival of a typical day. We know from our own data in the Moms and Media 2011 study and from other industry research that smartphone ownership among Moms is soaring. So I wasn’t so surprised when I was recently at two different events where the “mobile tech” dynamic was unmistakably in play.
My children are seven and four, so I’m regularly involved in the typical play group discussions and I know how powerful that “mom word-of-mouth” can be. However, these most recent interactions tapped into my inner researcher and I couldn’t help but mentally note what was happening.
In the first example, four moms, all with young children, were discussing the apps on their smartphones. When the conversation turned specifically to grocery shopping, one mom had us captivated when she talked about her positive experience with a shopping-from-home service offered by a grocery store. What is so telling about this anecdote is that by the end of the night, two of the other moms had already decided to give it try and had told two more people about it. Kudos to that grocery store, for this is exactly what marketers are told to do: get moms to talk about their product or service.
The other takeaway from that experience is that app download and usage is very relevant to moms, especially for utility. The eMarketer report, “Moms: Riding the Mobile Wave,” cites data indicating that moms are actually downloading more apps than non- moms. According to research conducted by Women at NBCU, moms who do download apps, download more of them than the average smartphone owner. Furthermore, moms with children 0 to 5 years old have the most apps, with 18.69 on average, compared to non-moms who average 17.8 apps.
In my other “a-ha” moment, I was at a party that took place in a restaurant. At one point I noticed five (!) children all ranging in age from 4 to 7 years old, playing on mom’s smartphone. I have seen this many times in individual cases but it was very eye-opening to see them all simultaneously, nonchalantly playing on the phones. This was clearly a regular occurrence for all of these kids and their parents. In the 2011 study “21st Century Mobile Moms Report” from Babycenter, it was noted that 52% of moms have ten or more apps downloaded and about 25% of those apps were for her kids.
It is evident that the dependence on smartphones will continue, and as the mobile technology advances to make more apps available, smartphone ownership among moms will likely rise even faster. Moms need apps almost as much as they need shoes…almost.