BEIJING: Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi and Pampers are among the brands that enjoy the highest favourability ratings with mothers in China, a new study has found.

Ogilvy & Mather surveyed 1,569 mothers with children up to the age of 15 years old, covering seven cities in all, and discussing topics from childcare to purchasing and media habits.

More specifically, the agency aimed to compare the behaviour of this demographic in Tier 1 markets such as Beijing and Shanghai with Tier 2 areas like Shenyang and Wuhan.

Overall, participants argued that their total family expenditure had more than doubled since having children, a trend that remained constant into the teenage years.

Johnson & Johnson was the most recommended brand in the toiletries sector, followed by Pigeon, a Japanese rival, and Safeguard, the soap owned by Procter & Gamble.

Pampers, also made by P&G, Mamy Poko, produced by Unicharm, and Huggies, part of Kimberly Clark's portfolio, were the nappy lines boasting the most favourable perceptions.

Mead Johnson, Dumex and Yinqiao took on this status when it came to infant formula milk, an industry that has come under considerable scrutiny in light of long-term safety concerns.

Pepsi, Kangshifu, Coca-Cola and Minute Maid headed the drinks rankings, with Mengniu, Yili, KFC and Bright afforded this role in the food category.

Disney and Nike shared the top spot for clothing and footwear, with Li Ning and Adidas in second and third.

When identifying where they were spending more, 90% of mothers said food, with 60% increasing their outlay on cleaning products, 53% on clothing and accessories, 33% on eating out and 16% on skincare and cosmetics.

With the exception of cleaning goods, Tier 1 respondents had heightened their purchase levels to a greater extent than their Tier 2 counterparts.

In terms of looking for information, over 80% of mothers in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities turned to television, with 54% and 60% of contributors also using newspapers in these two areas respectively.

By contrast, 55% of panellists in China's largest urban centres accessed the web as part of this process, compared with only 35% of their peers in smaller municipalities.

Popular recreational activities included regularly watching either television or a DVD, mentioned by 73% of the sample, Ogilvy & Mather found.

Shopping registered a total of 59%, with reading newspapers and magazines on 53%, and surfing the internet on 44%, with all of these habits peaking among the Tier 1 cohort.

There are an estimated 320 million working mothers in China at present, some 35.7% of which were categorised as "dedicated moms" focused on values like responsibility and dedication.

A further 29.4% were "go-getting moms" who aimed to strike a work–life balance and held the position of the "financial director" of the family.

"Easygoing moms", on 34.9%, defined themselves as being the "mainstay of the family", and stressed issues like their children's health, often buying nutritional supplements.

Ogilvy & Mather recommended that marketers try and serve the functional and emotional needs of Chinese mothers, particularly in saving them time which can then be spent with their children.

The Shanghai Jahwa Group has tapped into this idea, basing the long-running campaign for its Maxam Hand Cream on the tagline "youthful hands for mothers".

Data sourced from Ogilvy & Mather; additional content by Warc staff