Australian Smartphone and Tablet Data / Mobile Shopping

Mobile Mums Data Tells Strong Mobile Retail Story

A flurry of global and local research studies are reporting on the propensity of mums to use their smartphone and tablet devices for shopping related activities.  Overwhelmingly, the data supports targeting mobile mums for retail brands.  We summarise four recent local and global reports that tell a convincing story about the mobile mums phenomenon.

According to a recent survey from Roy Morgan, nearly all of Australia’s 3.9 million mothers have a mobile phone, with 3 million of them already using smartphones.   Once women enter the world of motherhood they report changes in the way they engage with their smartphone and tablet devices.  A global research study from the IAB titled 2015 State of Modern Motherhood: Mobile and Media in the Lives of Moms found that women reported an increase in smartphone usage across all countries since they became pregnant or gave birth.   This report which concentrates on Millenial Mums (aged between 19 and 35)  found that smartphone ownership for mums was up above 90% in most countries surveyed (U.S., Canada, China, U.K).

The focus of the Australian Roy Morgan survey was to identify what activities mums are more likely to do than the general population.  The main finding was that mums are less likely to use their phones for entertainment purposes than the average Australian. They are less likely to stream music, video and radio or download audio and video podcasts.  The activities that mums tend to focus on are shopping related, such as buying things in online auctions (like eBay), reading online catalogues and entering competitions online.

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Mums in particular tend to rely on their smartphone over other devices when it comes to shopping activities.  According to a survey of 11,574 mothers in the UK by data insight company FanFinders mums favour their smartphone to research brands and products. The report found that 68% of mums prefer to use their smartphone compared to 20% who would choose a tablet and 10% a laptop.  Overwhelmingly mums lean towards the convenience of a smartphone for brand and product research.

Another interesting insight is that mums in the FanFinders survey preferred email for promotional messages from brands. 68% of respondents would prefer brand promotions to come to their email.  Given that more than half of emails opens now occur on mobile devices, any email marketing strategy for retailers should focus predominantly on a mobile audience.  This also applies to brand advertising on social media.  Most popular social media networks have a significant portion of their user base accessing from mobile and tablet devices. Of the 10 million Australians using Facebook every day, 90% are doing so on a mobile device, so reaching these users is also a mobile targeting activity.  Retailers and brands who are reaching out to mums via email or social media campaigns should be aware that they are talking to a mobile audience, with all of the unique contextual behaviour patterns that go with that.

So what devices are Australian mums using?  This data changes often as mobile device upgrade cycles are shortening all the time.  The Apple brand has a strong influence on the local audience of mums across both smartphone and tablet ownership. According to a report from Reborn last year, around two thirds of Australian mums used  iPhones with the other third predominantly on Android devices.  At the time of the survey, 63% of the Australian mums surveyed had tablet devices.    Again, Apple dominates the tablet market, with 42% of mums  using an iPad, a further 4% an iPad Mini and 17% using another brand of tablet.

The local data from Reborn was focussed on what mums used their mobile devices for.  While social network and games were popular activities, 45% of Australian mums reported that they regular use trading sites like Gumtree and eBay on their mobile devices. Shopping was identified by 29% of mums and research activities like planning, organising and finding activities for kids were also carried out by more than 1/4 of mums. Loyalty cards and coupons are not as popular in Australia as they are in other countries, with only 9% of Australian mums noting that they use their mobile device for this kind of activity.  Given this is still a limited market in terms of brand activity, the opportunity for growth here is significant.

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Although it’s a popular perception that kids are spending a lot of time on their parents’ devices, the window of opportunity may be smaller than many believe.  Almost a third of Australian mums surveyed still don’t let their kids use their mobile device and of those that do, most limit usage to only a few minutes. A quarter of mums surveyed said they limited usage to less than 5 minutes.  In total, 82% did not allow their kids to use their smartphone or tablet for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Across all of the recent surveys, the data points to mobile mums being a force to be reckoned with for brands and retailers.  They are tech savvy shoppers with high end devices and high expectations of how they should be able to engage with brands on their smartphone and tablet devices.  All that remains is for Australian retailers and brands to rise to the occasion.




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