Affluent US moms shop where kids want

A new white paper entitled Affluent Mothers of Young Children details the extent of which having children alters every aspect of a woman's life, and particularly those with higher incomes.
October 22, 2010

A new white paper entitled Affluent Mothers of Young Children details the extent of which having children alters every aspect of a woman’s life, and particularly those with higher incomes.

The syndicated study produced by Ipsos Mendelsohn, a division of Ipsos MediaCT, polled more than 4,500 women ages 18 to 54 in the US with children under 18 years of age and with household incomes of more than US$100,000.

‘You have these two competing archetypes,’ says Donna Sabino, SVP of kids and family insights at Ipsos OTX, describing behaviors typically associated with being a ‘mother’ and behavior of those deemed to be affluent. ‘Clearly the mother archetype wins out over the affluent one,’ she says.

For example, women in this group with children are less likely to own a second home (28% without children, 22% with children) or a luxury car (20% without children, 15% with children), travel abroad (34% without children, 26% with children) or visit a spa (47% without children, 42% with children). Sabino says that this trend stays true when the study investigated what brands and retail outlets affluent mothers patronize.

‘The stores that the affluent moms go to are more likely to be The Gap, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, Target and K-mart,’ she says. ‘You wouldn’t necessarily think about these places when targeting affluent mothers, but yes, they are shopping there.’

There could be several reasons behind this group’s consumption patterns. Sabino allows that there is a value proposition as these affluent families are often buying multiple big-ticket items such as TVs, computers and smartphones. But she believes there are other factors at play.

‘These stores have the stuff that kids want,’ Sabino says. The study also illustrates that affluent moms adopt technology more readily than their childless counterparts. A full 74% of those with children, for example, send or receive text messages, whereas only 71% without kids do. They are also more likely to use video chat, pay bills online and maintain a profile on a social network.

‘We think of teenagers as living that type of mobile life, but their moms are also doing it,’ says Sabino. The big takeaway, she says, is that there is still much to be learned about the way kids influence their mothers.

‘We don’t understand to the extent that we should the role that having kids has on every single aspect of a woman’s life,’ she says. ‘Even in areas in moms’ lives where you don’t think kids are involved, like choice of job, media selection and the brands that they buy for themselves, are all influenced by their children.’

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at


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