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Moms switch to mobile

News, 11 February 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: The past two years have seen a sharp rise in smartphone ownership among young mothers who are now spending as much time on mobile as with television, new research has shown.

A report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and digital parenting resource BabyCenter – 2015 State of Modern Motherhood: Mobile and Media in the Lives of Moms – was based on US qualitative research and an online survey of more than 10,000 moms across the US, Brazil, Canada, China and the UK, almost two thirds of whom were millennial moms age 18 to 32.

Smartphone ownership was found to be particularly high amongst this age group, up between 20 and 30 percentage points since 2012 in most countries to stand above 90%. Penetration was lowest in Brazil, at 76% but this represented a threefold increase on 2012.

At 90%, Millennial moms' ownership of smartphones in the US has outpaced ownership of laptop and desktop computers for the first time. Further, this age group is spending 35% more time online via their smartphones than online via laptop or desktop.

This group's time on mobile has also surpassed that on television (2.8 hours on mobile vs. 2.3 hours with TV). Mobile usage also eclipsed television watching in Brazil, Canada and China with the UK's mobile numbers approaching parity with TV.

"Moms have traditionally been a primary target for a multitude of marketers, and now it's clear that the primary way to reach them is through mobile," said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President, Mobile and Video, IAB.

"We are seeing smartphones as central to moms' media experiences around the world. And, with millennials making up the majority of new moms, brands and agencies need to think of this valuable demographic as tech-savvy and mobile-first, if they want to earn their interest and loyalty."

The findings also highlighted the importance of understanding how to tailor messaging and creative across borders.

Digital ads featuring deals, sales, or money saving offers were more likely to grab the attention of Millennial mothers in the US, Brazil, Canada, and UK than those ads that were relevant to their own life stage or that of their child.

But their counterparts in China found both types of ads equally attention-getting.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff