NEW YORK: Wealthier mothers are the most open to persuasion by online recommendations from other parents when e-shopping for baby products, according to new research.

BabyCenter, the website owned by personal care business Johnson & Johnson, surveyed 905 new and soon-to-be mothers as it sought to better understand how online reviews influenced purchases by mothers.

The results, Ad Week reported, showed that almost two thirds (61%) of mothers in the $50,000-$100,000 household income bracket had bought or placed strollers on their registries after reading online reviews from other parents.

This compared to just under half (48%) of mothers in households with an income under $50,000.

Online editorial experts had rather less impact than one might have expected given the sensitivity of the subject. Among higher income mothers, the figure fell to 44% for those in $50,000 to $100,000 households, while the comparable figure for those in lowest income households dropped to 31%.

The picture was repeated to a lesser extent in-store, where 27% of the highest income mothers (over $100,000) admitted to being influenced in their purchase by a store's sales people, while just 17% of those in the two lower brackets reported the same.

The reluctance of lower income mothers to be swayed by recommendations could, of course, be simply down to financial restrictions, with price the most important factor.

Some 70% of expecting mothers in the US use the BabyCenter site, registering due dates and the ages of other children. Johnson & Johnson has mined the resulting data – search terms, browsing habits and forum discussions – and combined it with qual and quant research to establish what mothers are going to do several months before they actually do it and to influence the brands they chose to help them at each stage of their child's life.

"We looked at the mom that she was proud to be and saw how that changed from caretaker to coach," Summer Schiavo, BabyCenter Director – Global Insights, told a Seville conference earlier this year.

"We saw the mum that she aspires to be – creative and involved. So we said that if we start that conversation earlier with moms, that's an opportunity to build a strong relationship right from the very beginning."

Data sourced from Ad Week; additional content by Warc staff