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Mummy shoppers rule the roost

by on August 14, 2012 in Lead story, Nuggets, Research, Women for Women

New research released today by BabyCentre, the world’s number one pregnancy and parenting website, has found that becoming a mum triggers a fundamental change in how women shop, causing them to alter their fashion style, clothing choices and personal care routine as they completely overhaul their purchase criteria.

BabyCentre’s Mummy Shopper Report, which polled 1,000 women before and after they had a child reveals not only that over two-thirds of women (68%) change their purchase criteria for everything they buy once baby arrives – including clothing (78%), beauty (42%) and the family car (70%), but that 80% of all household shopping decisions are made by mum.

In the clothing department, the results show that nearly all mums (91%) said comfortable fit was the single most important factor in a new outfit, while its ‘sex appeal’ – which is the fifth most considered factor for women without children – falls out of the top 10 once baby arrives.

Additionally, brand preferences change, with even the most fashion-conscious yummy mummies switching their spending from high-street favourites such as French Connection (-57%) and Coast (-65%) to clothes that they feel better reflect their new role as a ‘mum’ in Primark and Marks & Spencer (increasing in popularity by 86% and 49% respectively). Luxury beauty brands also suffer, with the likes of Lancôme (-47%) and Clarins (-27%) losing out to supermarket own brands (+97%).

The Mummy Shopper Report, part of the BabyCentre 21st Century Mum Insights Series, also found that the whole experience of shopping changes for women once they have to bring children along. The women surveyed reported feeling more guilty (+186%), rushed (+121%) and stressed (+39%) when shopping, compared to how they felt pre-children.

This stressful shopping experience means that women adapt their shopping habits following the arrival of children, with the internet coming out top as the busy mum’s channel of choice. Nine out of 10 mums surveyed had shopped online in the last 30 days and nearly two thirds (62%) said that since becoming a mum they would prefer to do all their shopping online.

Mike Fogarty, SVP Global Publisher of BabyCentre suggests advertisers take serious note of these trends, he said:

“For advertisers wanting to target women and mothers, it’s vital that they understand how a woman’s purchase criteria alters once she becomes a mum. Having a baby radically changes a woman’s life – and while it’s not unexpected to see shopping become less of a leisure pursuit once there’s a baby in tow – we were surprised to see the impact on the way a woman shops for herself.

“These changes are not simply about price and time, but a more fundamental shift in how a woman defines and prioritises herself. Advertisers savvy to this will be able to adapt their messages and marketing activity in order communicate with new mums more effectively.”

The importance of each purchase criteria when clothes shopping:

Rank Before baby After baby
1 78% Design/style 91% Comfortable fit
2 77% Colour options 89% Price
3 72% Reflects personality 84% On sale/discounts
4 62% Price 83% Durability
5 61% ‘Sex appeal’ 79% Ease of cleaning
6 56% Head turning/trendy/hip 73% Versatility
7 53% Comfortable fit 68% Colour options
8 53% On sale/discounts 67% Design/style
9 52% Durability 61% Reflects personality
10 45% Versatility 37% Eco-friendly
11 41% Ease of cleaning 28% ‘Sex appeal’


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