“Drawing on the annual Mendelsohn Affluent Survey from Ipsos Mendelsohn, the report says affluent women without children “are far more likely to demonstrate stereotypically ‘affluent’ behaviors” than is the case for their counterparts with kids under age 18. (The polling was conducted March through June among respondents with household income of at least $100,000.) “By contrast,” continues the report, “when examining the behaviors of affluent moms of young children, their patterns of behavior and consumption do not appear to be as economically advantaged as those of the affluent women without young children.”
Of course, such disparities are relative. For instance, while affluent women without young kids are more likely to have two or more residences (28 percent do so), it’s also fairly common among those with kids (22 percent). Fifteen percent of those with children own a luxury car, vs. 20 percent of those without. Twenty-six percent of the affluent mothers took a foreign trip in the past year, vs. 34 percent of the affluent non-moms.
‘MOM-DRIVEN’ CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
Still, does the “mom” part of “affluent mom” loom larger than the “affluent” part in the way these mothers perceive themselves? “Yes, the data indicate that the consumer behavior of affluent women with children is ‘mom-driven,'” says Donna Sabino, svp, kids and family insights at Ipsos OTX MediaCT and author of the research paper. “Their worlds are significantly affected by the presence of children in a way that supersedes their affluence. ‘Mom’ is their primary, most demanding and most important role. As a result, they view much of the world through that ‘mom’ lens.”
If the constraints of parenthood mean affluent mothers are less apt to spend in some areas, the role naturally makes them more likely to spend on other items. Thus, 22 percent of the mothers (vs. 8 percent of the non-mothers) are in households that own a van; 46 percent of the mothers (vs. 34 percent of the non-mothers) are in households that own an SUV.
And they may be driving to different stores. While affluent women without children are more likely to shop in “high-end specialty stores,” says the report, the mothers have a higher incidence of shopping at Walmart and other mass-market outlets that lack an upscale cachet. How come? “Stores like Walmart, Sears, Target and JC Penny offer a variety of items that women need,” notes Sabino. “Affluent moms and women without children appreciate the convenience of these one-stop-shopping retailers. The difference seems to come with the other stores women without kids have in their shopping repertoire — those upscale stores that are usually associated with affluence. Affluent women without children have the time and the disposable income to shop at those stores or Web sites that we think of as upscale.
“We may also see differences in the types of products moms vs. women without kids buy in these mass-market retailers,” Sabino continues. “Moms are more likely to shop in mass merchandisers because they offer the merchandise their kids need and want — clothing, toys, video games, sporting goods, school supplies — at prices that allow them to provide for their kids all in a convenient one-stop-shopping experience, as she can also purchase HBA, household goods, etc.” And don’t underestimate the appeal of the single stop, particularly for mothers of very young kids. “Mothers of very young children describe their appreciation of shopping trips with only one stop and therefore one car-seat unbuckle,” says Sabino.””
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Is this research accurate? Does it dispell a more stereotypical view about affluence and parenting?