At Giraffe Insights, we specialise in speaking to parents and kids to gain insightful and actionable research to help grow businesses. Many of our clients operate within the toys and games industry, kids and family media space and mother and baby markets. Outside of this, we regularly undertake our own research, to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the market landscape and wanted to share some of our recent insights. In September 2015, alongside our sister company Generation Media, we were invited by organisers to talk about market-relevant topics from the baby and toddler outfitting industry at the Kind + Jugend conference. At the time, we’d just conducted an online survey amongst 1,800 expectant women and mums of pre-schoolers across the UK, Germany, Spain and USA. As reported for Toy News, we discovered that despite each mum’s journey being unique, there were some very strong commonalities across all territories, such as their approach to information gathering and use of devices – online using her mobile being number one. This is particularly so for expectant women, whose daily use of the internet is 9% higher than that of pre-school mums. However, there were also some visible differences at a market level and one of the most stand out themes we can exclusively share, is that UK mums[1] in this demographic are leading the way for online purchasing. With 64% saying they purchase online on a daily to weekly basis, comparative to an average of 41% across the other 3 markets. Additionally, 37% of UK mums agree that they prefer to buy things online rather than in-store, the highest amongst all the other countries.
This ties in with their move away from traditional parenting magazines, with 60% of UK mums saying they never refer to them for information, a huge contrast to Spain, where 40% are reading them on a daily to weekly basis. What’s surprising is that the number of hours UK mums spend online does not exceed that of other markets. Typically, expectant women and pre-school mums across all territories are accessing the internet for 1-3 hours daily. In fact, the highest daily users are in the USA, with almost 30% claiming to go online for more than 4 hours. Furthermore, the number of UK expectant women and pre-school mums that say they’ve purchased products for them or their baby – directly as a result of seeing an advert on a parenting or non-parenting website – is the lowest. In this context, it’s Spanish mums which appear most directly influenced through online advertising. If UK mums in this demographic have a higher propensity to purchase online, why do they seem less likely to be directly influenced by online adverts? Essentially, they’re taking time to look around before purchasing. Firstly, UK mums are much more likely to research products online before going onto purchase, with 81% doing this on a daily to weekly basis, compared to 73% on average. And although ‘direct’ purchase in this instance was lowest, 36% of UK expectant women and pre-school mums still think parenting websites are the most effective medium for advertising mum and baby products. In-store advertising was ranked second (30%) and TV third (24%). We can therefore easily imagine mum browsing in-store and then going home to purchase online, or looking up a product on her tablet as she catches sight of an advert during her TV show. So why are UK mums leading the way in online purchasing? Could it be that UK mums are simply spending more? Out of all the markets, Spanish mums are purchasing online less often. When we look at their gross household income comparative to that of the UK, it’s much lower. In Spain, the most common income band is €10,000 – €18,499 (roughly £7,000 – £13,000*). Whereas in the UK, it’s £32,000 – £47,999. Whilst this doesn’t take into account tax, cost of living etc., inevitably, this is likely to be a key contributor. But what are the other factors? We’ve already seen that UK mums like to shop around- having the highest tendency to research online and the highest preference for online shopping over in-store. What’s more, almost 60% of UK mums agree that they couldn’t live without the internet, compared to 43% on average, the lowest being in Germany (32%). So whilst their usage isn’t significantly higher than the other countries, they’re seemingly more dependent on it. Comfort and convenience of access also play a role, with UK mums much more likely to access the internet on a tablet or whilst travelling (21% UK, 13% USA, 10% Germany, 9% Spain). It’s our conclusion therefore, that these combined factors provide a very strong basis as to why UK expectant women and pre-school mums are leading the way in online purchasing. We’re really excited by these findings, not only because we’re looking at key commercial markets, but that data on expectant women and mums of pre-schoolers is hard to come by. From a research point of view, it’s one of the most difficult target markets to reach.

[1] ‘Mums’ refers to both expectant women and pre-school mums, unless stated otherwise for the remaining article *Based on exchange rates 07 December 2015