Marketing to Moms: Moms Will Decide When the Recession is Over

June 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

Moms are the power spenders. They control 85-90% of all household spending.  And their spending habits will dictate the end of the recession.

According to a BSM Media Study, household spending is projected to be $3 trillion in 2012, up from $2.1 million today.

In addition to controlling the spending, the majority of these household CEOs also work, providing much of the household income.  From 1965 to 2000, the percent of working women with children under 18 grew from 45% to 78%.

How the thrift economy is affecting Mom purchases

For the present, Moms are protecting the household budget.  Moms are spending for their families first and then, small luxuries for themselves.  The alternatives may mean fewer Starbucks and more homebrewed coffee, less restaurant meals and more brown bags, and designer accessories traded in for cheap chic.  A fun splurge can be a retailer sale and a garage sale.

Sociologists at Brigham Young University have dubbed this period the “thrift economy”.  This moniker is based on BYU research that shows an 11 percent change in the likelihood of shopping at thrift shops or yard sales for every $10,000 change in annual household income.  The essence of their learning is in a thrift economy people are more likely to turn to alternative shopping venues or methods.

Marketers must find ways to connect with Mom’s desire to provide the best they can for their families with limited resources.   Conspicuous consumption is out.  Moms will respond to approaches that help them save money, have their necessities, and feel good about their budget.  True value offers, coupons, discounters like Big Lots and TJ Maxx, car assurance plans, layaway and improved home kits for haircolor, manicures and facials are all the Moms best friends.

Provide Moms with Alternative Means of Controlling the Household Budget

So here is the learning for us – shopping in the thrift economy should provide a little adventure of discovery – and control.  American Moms are still looking for ways to be entertained while shopping, and at the same time, exert control over spending.

Thrift today embodies inventive and unconventional ways to economize that provides experience, discovery and engagement.  Frugality is the approach used for past recessions; thrift is the approach for this recession.

As Fear Resides, Moms Will Spend Again, Smarter and More Loyal

As Moms feel more comfortable with options available to them, they will trust marketers that help them through this recession.  As fear resides and jobs begin to grow again, Moms will feel comfortable returning to prior spending levels, but will maintain their loyalty to those marketers that have helped them through this difficult time.  Moms will be smarter and have a wider variety of shopping options open to them.

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