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Report: ‘21st Century Mom’ comes in a variety of faces

BY DSN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO —In order to successfully connect with today’s mom, retailers and manufacturers must understand how she lives her life, and for the 21st-century mom, that means online.

According to the “The 21st Century Mom Report” by BabyCenter, an online global resource for expectant and new moms that is part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, there has been a dramatic increase over the past three years in moms’ use of social media (up 462%) and cell phones to access the Web (up 348%).

The report captured the thoughts and opinions of more than 25,000 U.S. moms from BabyCenter’s 21st Century Mom panel and BabyCenter.com. It is the result of a two-part tracking study conducted with NovaQuant in 2006 and 2009, as well as a series of 18 in-depth surveys conducted by BabyCenter between January and June 2009.

“The 21st century mom has many faces, and the more you know about her, the easier it will be to build a relationship that lasts a lifetime—in her laundry room, under her sink and in her garbage,” stated Tina Sharkey, chairman and global president of BabyCenter.

It may not be surprising to hear that motherhood is a “transformative life stage change, which triggers a sizeable re-evaluation process of products and brands,” but what may not be so obvious is just how great a role the Internet and other technologies play in her role of motherhood.

The many faces of the 21st Century Mom, according to BabyCenter, include:

Social Mom: The number of moms who regularly use social media, such as Facebook, MySpace and BabyCenter Community, has increased from 11% to 63% since 2006—a change of 462%. The research also found that 44% use social media for word-of-mouth recommendations on brands and products, and 73% believe they find trustworthy information about products and services through online communities focused on their specific interests. Furthermore, they use mass-reach social networks primarily for socializing and entertainment, and content-rich sites and mom-centric communities to get information and advice from other moms.

Media Mom: The Internet better serves her needs compared with any other form of media because it can be accessed at any time, such as during the baby’s nap time. Thirty-nine percent of moms even said their time online often is the most peaceful part of their day.

Gadget Mom: Today’s moms are not afraid of technology. They are loaded down with PDAs to manage hectic family schedules, digital cameras to capture those special moments and gaming consoles to connect with their children. The vast majority of moms (91%) never leave the house without their cell phones and, compared with just three years ago, are 348% more likely to use their cell phones to go online.

Eco Mom: From 2006 to 2009, the number of moms claiming they actively seek eco-friendly products for their families has increased by 51%. Most of the respondents (92%) said their inspiration to be more eco-friendly comes from concerns about their children, versus 42% who want to save the planet. After becoming a parent, moms are 89% more likely to say environmental impact is an important purchase criterion.

Dr. Mom: Today’s mom, who often is the key decision-maker in the health and well-being of the family, consistently taps into both expert and mom-to-mom wisdom using the Internet and social media. In online communities, children’s health issues are the leading topic of interest (91%), followed by childhood development tips (79%) and product reviews (72%).

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Washington, Mo., considers repealing recently passed PSE legislation

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The objective here is closing down clandestine methamphetamine labs. The question is: Who is going to bear the cost? And the answer, ultimately, is the consumer.

It seems that one of the primary reasons behind legislation like this, which is also under consideration by the California state legislature as well as several local municipalities throughout Missouri, is cost shifting.

Indeed, one solution that would prevent the practice of “smurfing,” a practice whereby meth addicts exceed their legal purchase limits in pseudoephedrine products by buying across several nearby pharmacies, is electronic logbooking. By granting access to PSE logbooks to law enforcement in real time, law enforcement officers would not only be made aware of a “smurfer” as they were driving between pharmacies, but would also identify who that smurfer was and where they lived.

Setting up that comprehensive electronic logbooking system requires resources, however. State coffers have traditionally been tapped for that purpose, and at least in the case of California, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association has offered to help defray that cost. In the case of Missouri, more than $500,000 has already been earmarked for the implementation of an electronic logbooking system at the state level.

However,  a not-as-much-talked-about cost is also borne by law enforcement, as pointed out by Franklin County Sgt. Jason Grellner in Missouri. After all, it requires additional resources to actually apprehend and prosecute those criminals, he suggested. And a system that better defines who those criminals may be, by his estimation, could cost the state as much as $350,000 per criminal per year.

Therefore, Grellner argues, it’s a fiscal responsibility to take PSE off the OTC market altogether, and require a prescription for the popular decongestant.

That, in a nutshell, is cost-shifting. Because reverse switching PSE translates into less revenue for retailers (and consequently less taxable revenue, as well) for those consumers who choose to forego PSE-provided relief, and for those who don’t, it’s a greater healthcare cost because now consumers have to schedule an appointment with their primary care practitioner and pay the co-pay for that doctor’s visit on top of the cost of the PSE product.

Regardless of how the consumer ultimately pays for the elimination of meth labs — whether through increased taxes to cover escalating law enforcement budgets or through increased personal healthcare costs — there is another argument to be made here. Switching PSE to prescription-only status may result in fewer meth labs busted, but it’s not going to do anything about those meth addicts still on the street. Necessity is the mother of invention, and for addicts, that simply means sourcing their meth from somewhere else.

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