The Millennial generation is the first to grow up immersed in the Internet and social media. Millennials' status as first-generation digital natives has equipped them with an intuitive ability to navigate in an online world.
But what happens as profound life-changes—such as motherhood—emerge for Millennial women? Do their digital behaviors decrease, given their growing responsibilities? Or has technology become so entwined in their lives that Millennials continue to explore new digital platforms regardless of life changes?
A new comprehensive Influence Central research study of more than 1,000 Millennial women and Millennial moms (as well as Boomer and Gen X women) offers new insight into how online technology and digital devices evolve for the Millennial generation. What we found proved compelling. Instead of stepping back from daily digital habits, or even remaining at consistent levels, Millennial moms deepen their usage of online technology, and it becomes further entrenched in their changing lives.
Our survey revealed that motherhood proves a transformative moment for Millennials. When Millennial women become mothers, everything shifts for them—digital use, brand interaction, online and offline product search habits, brand preferences, and more. They begin learning about products in an entirely new way, focusing solely on social networking, bloggers, and influencers to hear those personal stories and first-person recommendations.
So when these Moms look at things like online reviews or recommendations from bloggers, what really pulls them in is this sense of "I recognize myself in what you're writing about and it makes a difference to me."
By contrast, Millennial women really pride themselves on being social researchers online, and they become more likely to be influenced by traditional media. As they shift through their customer product journey, they look at brand websites and e-commerce reviews, but they look for the amount of detail and verification that typically comes with those reviews.
One of the most compelling shifts centers on digital adoption.
Here are five key ways Millennial moms deepen their embrace of digital technology.
1. Increasing Device Use Once Millennials Become Moms
Millennials' penchant for digital use is well-known, but our study demonstrated that Millennial moms actually increase their use of tech devices over non-mom Millennials.
For example, 95% of Millennial moms own a smartphone, compared with 87% of non-moms, and 81% of moms prefer texting over talking, as compared with 77% of non-Moms. Moreover, 90% of Moms use a tablet vs. 60% of non-moms, and 45% of moms own an Internet TV device vs. 28% of non-moms.
2. Sharing Experiences on Visually Driven Social Sites
The Millennial ramp up of all things digital also extends to platforms dominated by visual images and photography.
Our study demonstrated that 99% of Millennial moms use Facebook, as compared to 93% of non-moms. The visual platforms of Pinterest and Instagram dramatically appeal to Millennial moms as 97% spend time on Pinterest vs. 77% of Millennial women, and 89% of moms use Instagram vs. 61% of non-Moms. Moreover, Millennial moms post more visual content than non-moms with 98% posting pictures of past experiences vs. 85% of non-moms, and 84% posting original videos, as compared to 47% of non-moms.
3. Using Social Media to Give Advice to Others
Our study also reveals dramatic differences in why Millennial moms and non-moms use social media. As a group, Millennials don't view social media as a way to be seen as an expert or to amass followers—rather they want to share experiences and information with their community.
But when a woman becomes a mom, she truly values personal storytelling and firsthand recommendations, so she wants to do the same. As a result, 86% of moms use social media to become an influencer, as compared to 13% of Millennials. In addition, 72% of moms give advice to others via social platforms, contrasted with just 25% of non-mom Millennials.
4. Stepping Up Online Engagement and Brand Interaction
Another key digital transformation centers on online engagement. Because of Millennial moms' preference for firsthand recommendations and authentic storytelling, they expect personal conversations with their preferred brands on social media.
A whopping 100% of Millennial moms follow brands on social media, as compared to 58% of non-Mom Millennials. In addition, 84% of Millennial moms enjoy when brands interact with them online, yet only 30% of Millennial women do. Finally, 92% of Millennial moms tag brands in their social posts, but only 47% of non-moms do.
5. Turning to the Internet for Parenting Advice
What's the impact of digital use on Millennial moms? Our study revealed that these moms view it as a key parenting tool, with 77% believing the Internet has made them a better parent. More than 90% of Moms say the Internet offers them the ability to find fun activities, and 87% believe it allows them to quickly tap into parenting tips and advice.
Moreover, Millennial moms also value the personal connections the Internet offers, with 81% saying they use it to find moms going through similar experiences, and 79% agreeing online technology allows them to connect day and night with other moms.