Brands need to rethink the way they are engaging with mums when they’re shopping, Saatchi & Saatchi finds

Mums’ expectations of brands have changed dramatically but little has changed in the way brands connect with her when she’s buying products and services, according to Saatchi & Saatchi research into how mums behave when they’re shopping.

The findings support those in a major study commissioned by Saatchi & Saatchi in partnership with Mumsnet, to uncover “The Truth About Mums”. They found many assumptions marketers make about mums today are in fact, myths. Mums are not the introspective homemakers we once imagined them to be and it’s no surprise that these incorrect assumptions carry through to experiences at retail, said researchers.

The research found whilst a key truth remains; mums still do most of the shopping, with 94% of married mums claiming to carry out the grocery purchases for the household, brands have not always kept pace with her lifestyle, expectations and priorities.

According to the findings, 60% of mums say the best fun they have is with their children. In fact, the same number also claim their children are more fun to spend time with than most of the adults they know. In line with this 53% of mums stated they don’t mind having their children with them when they shop.

Over 60% of mums surveyed agreed dad does have a key influence on what they buy, and if they purchase together, they will most certainly spend more. Fifty per cent of mums agreed that what they buy is influenced by what their children want, rising to 57% for mums with children aged 16 and over.

When mums are shopping, they are not always the perfectly disciplined gatekeepers of good we expect or perceive them to be and Saatchi & Saatchi’s attitudinal study revealed mums accept they are not perfect, and what’s more, they don’t want to be.

Forty per cent of mum’s said they liked to do as much online shopping as possible, and researchers expect this to grow in the coming years, it is also clear that this is driving the growth in click and collect services and also the seeking of inspiration and recommendations from experts online. Mums are truly multi-channel and multi-platform shoppers, with high expectations and an exceptional eye for a great deal.

Rachelle Headland, managing director, Saatchi & Saatchi X, said: “It’s all too tempting to think of the frazzled mum, trying to manage her weekly shop with a couple of bored children running uncontrollably through the aisles. This will only lead you down the path of finding ways to make the shopping experience quicker and more convenient, an operationally-led approach. The reality is that a large percentage of mums don’t mind shopping with their children, they benchmark their experiences emotionally and actively seek inspiration from a variety of sources, including and especially, other mums. Add to this their recession-trained, technology enabled buying sophistication and you have a very powerful segment of the population driving a totally new shopping culture. The pace of change is fast, and the industry is investing heavily in new technologies and formats, and yet we are positively lethargic towards truly understanding the needs of our number one shopper in almost every sector.”

Sue Macmillan, commercial director at Mumsnet, said: “By making the effort to truly understand the range of contemporary mums’ concerns and aspirations – rather than, as has traditionally been the case, simply bundling the entire demographic into a one-size-fits-all image of motherhood rooted in the 1950s – brands are able to engage authentically with this influential consumer group. On Mumsnet campaigns that identify the everyday experiences of being a mum – the humour and enjoyment, as well as the worry and frustration – see increased brand loyalty and advocacy, while those that rely on old-fashioned stereotypes fail to develop relationships.”