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Online shopping takes off among mothers

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Most mums with internet access now do their grocery shopping online, according to new research.

Microsoft Advertising found that 61% now do their grocery shop online, suggesting that “the internet is starting to replace the weekly shopping run”, while 66% use the internet to buy baby products and 51% to stock up on household items.

The survey comes from Microsoft Advertising’s research, data and analytics team, and aims to inform brands targetting the ‘high-value mummy market’. The Real Mums research, carried out by research agency SPA, quizzed 731 mums with internet access through an online survey and carried out face-to-face meetings with 111 pregnant women. Video diaries, forums and blogs also fed into the findings, which discovered that attitudes towards internet use have changed fast in the two years since Microsoft Advertising last researched the market.

Forty-six per cent of mums with internet access can now go online wirelessly (up fro 28% in 2008), with the result that some 72% of mums surf the internet while they watch TV, while one in four now owns a smartphone, using it to access the internet daily. That’s up from one in 20 in 2008. Some 74% rely on email to stay in touch, while 62% take part in social networks and 56% use the internet to catch up with TV shows and 30% shop for themselves.

Julie Forey, head of research, data and analytics at Microsoft Advertising said: “This research shows that online mums love the web for its convenience. Surfing the internet features prominently in their everyday lives, giving advertisers a huge opportunity to forge real emotional connections with mums through advertising that is relevant, trustworthy and offers clear benefits to them.”

Our view: This research seems to suggest mothers as a group are much more likely to buy groceries online than the general population. Just last month IGD research found only 7% of shoppers stock up on their regular grocery shop online, although that’s expected to grow fast. And in the other piece of research we cover today, from Deloitte, the figure on grocery shopping is put at 4%, rising at most to 14% among 24 to 35-year-olds.

So are mothers as a group really so much more likely to shop online than the UK population in general? Maybe the fact that this survey is of mothers who specifically have internet access goes towards explaining the difference between the two sets of results. There is, presumably, very little chance that the the 27% of households who, according to the Office for National Statistics, don’t yet have internet access are doing their shopping online.

Either way, this certainly confirms mothers as a key target market for advertisers looking to promote their brands online. After all, who really wants to take their toddler round the supermarket?

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