It’s one of the biggest years in the UK’s history and as the country celebrates 60 years of a matriarchal monarch and female athletes are the most talked about in the GB Olympics team, it will be one where female role models feature prominently.
No longer are women the gatekeepers to purchasing decisions, they are often the sole decision maker.
The majority of mums now work (66.5%), a sizable proportion full time (29%) and despite this they also take responsibility for childcare and domestic functions of the household. BT Infinity identifies them as ‘Home Hubs’, 23% of the UK population who are practical and focus and control Internet usage in the household. Financially independent and fiercely influential, they have become the group that most brands need to win over. Weightwatchers’ Chris Stirk, recently, rather controversially, prioritised working mums as the audience his brand was hoping to snare with its new high-street presence.
If women hold the purse strings to family spending we need to look at where they are spending, and how do we position our communications to ensure we are pulling the right strings?
It seems the most desired commodity is time. The majority of mums prioritise their family over work, feel guilty about the amount of time they can give to their children and are much more likely than a partner to sacrifice their precious personal or “me time” to give more time back to the family. A recent P&G survey shows mums have an average of 26 minutes a day to themselves. This may only be ‘a working mum in PR’ trait but personally travelling to and from work is the ONLY time I get to myself. It is mums who take on the wellbeing of their family with six out of ten feeling they have to work to protect their lifestyle rather than it being a choice.
Although time saving devices such as smartphones and tablets are more popular than ever with 68% of mums using Skype, text and social media to stay in touch, versus 17% face-to-face, conversely, there is an increasing desire to escape from the pressures of modern day life, a longing for traditional values and enjoying the simple pleasures. Activities such as cooking from scratch, baking and growing your own veg can be enjoyed as a family and are seen as forming a positive base from which children can learn and develop.
To the brands that believe they are pulling the right strings, the on-going economic turbulence is a word of warning as the shrinking public sector has hit working mums the hardest. Over the last three months 81% of unemployment has been among women. Research commissioned by the shadow home secretary, shows that women are paying more than two-thirds of the cost of the changes to tax, tax credits, benefits, pay and pensions that were introduced in the recent budget.
In the latter half of 2012, our consumer role models’ purse strings are tightening and it will not just be the brands pulling the right ones but those that provide the best lifestyle value that will prosper.
Lydia Hoye, Managing Partner and working mum
Sources. Telegraph 24th April 2012, The Guardian, March 18th 2012, BT Infinity Research, April 2012, P&G “The Changing Face of Motherhood”, Office of National Statistcs, Mintel – Marketing to the Modern Family July 2011, Mintel – Marketing to Mum’s and Mum’s to be Sept 2011, Mintel – Domestic Tourism Sept 2011, BritMums Blog April 2011, Netmums Work Debate Survey (400 mums), United Nations, Unicef Ipsos Mori Child Wellbeing Report 2011, Britain Thinks Report for Labour Party 2011, Aviva Family Finances Report 2012