Money Saving Experts
There are 3 key behaviours which we’ve been tracking amongst mums of school age kids during the Covid crisis.
HELP ME TO OCCUPY MY KIDS. Mums have added an additional factor to how they judge retailers on their brand values: how well they help to “keep my child happy, occupied & learning”.
GET IT WHERE YOU CAN. Mums have also had to use a wider array of sources (mostly online) to shop from based on available inventory and lockdown opening. In some instances they will stick with those new found sources even as the crisis subsides.
GO TO THE CHEAPEST. That’s what happens when mums lose income and have to become sourcing professionals They go to the cheapest. They’re money saving experts.
A dramatic fall in family household income will shape shopper behaviour in the toys, nursery, kids clothing and many other family goods categories for months, if not years, to come.
Our research has shown over the years that as soon as household incomes drop during maternity leave, mothers take on the mantel of money saving experts. The pandemic is ensuring that this deal-conscious shopping continues for longer within family households as recession takes its toll.
How Money Saving Experts shop
From the safety of the sofa, money saving experts chase the best deals. Mums of new-borns register for notifications in as many places as they can find or hear about, from retailer lists to new parent advice platforms, which in turn are a magnet for advertisers.
Voucher sites. Baby “events”. Deal feeds. Membership discounts.
These savvy shoppers also scour the re-circle sites in search of “amazing nearly new finds”. They source across price comparison sites, and in particular for high volume, regular purchases, switching loyalty between retailers to get the better deal on items such as nappies, wipes, formula.
Price isn’t at the top of the purchase hierarchy for baby durables – equipment, toys – in that few shoppers will choose an item based on its price above brand and functionality, however once a money saving expert has made a brand or product choice, their mission is to source it on the best deal.
Changes to Shopping Behaviour Over Time
Money saving expert behaviour isn’t consistent across all ages and stages in a family’s life.
It rapidly intensifies at around 6 weeks after the start of maternity leave. Not surprising, given the first drop in income occurs at that point in time. It intensifies further as new mums move from buying immediate “coping” essentials into a second wave of baby durables, and deal chasing usually peaks at around the time that statutory maternity pay ceases altogether, 39 weeks in the UK.
When mums return to work, despite being back in paid employment, deal chasing remains a habitual shopping practice but its importance has already subsided as income flows back into the household and “free” time becomes an even more scarce and valuable commodity than minor savings on a deal can compensate. By the time their children are toddlers, able to make a few demands of their own on brand choices, deal chasing is reduced from fully orchestrated campaign management to occasional, sporadic opportunism.
Shopping Behaviour Shaped by the Pandemic
Pre pandemic, most mothers of school age kids were not shopping as money saving experts. The dramatic fall* in full time employment of women with school age kids will change this and if it does, then toy manufacturers and retailers will need to respond accordingly.
> Full Time Employment amongst mums of school age kids fell by 10 percentage points from June 2020 to November 2020. Full Time Furlough halved.
> Unemployment in the same segment almost doubled.
> Part Time Employment has increased 5-fold, part time furlough has doubled and zero hour contracts increased by 40%.
Implications and evidence of behavioural change
We track where shoppers are going to purchase goods in family-linked categories. Apart from predictable shifts in favour of the major multiple grocers (especially Tesco and Asda) and, of course, Amazon, our tracking shows an exponential growth in favour of toy shopping at Aldi and on E-Bay, driven by deals, events, and of course, re-circling. Many toy companies we’ve been speaking to have confirmed a rapid increase in shipments to Aldi to support standard stock listings.
Aldi has grabbed the opportunity to reach money saving experts in precisely the language and mechanics that they’re attuned to respond to, with regular events and special buys, overlaid with a determined campaign by the retailer to reposition itself as a credible destination for families in search of toys, hobbies and gifts.
“Never miss an Aldi special buy again.” Take a look at the links below.
It pays to track the trends across the full breadth of your market and apply the learnings from one consumer group – in this case new mums of infants – to predict likely behaviours in another consumer group, in this case, mums with school age kids.
Note on employment of mums with school age kids
Consumer Fluent has been tracking the changes in employment status since the very first Lockdown came into effect in March 2020. As we conduct regular surveys with the core audience for many of our kids sector clients, specifically mothers of school age children, we have analysed the trends with our own data, and explore here how they will shape shopper behaviour for the foreseeable future. We’ve taken a snapshot of data in June and November to illustrate the key trends.
Female employment, specifically of mothers with school age children, has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Our data reveals the extent to which mothers have had to negotiate or been obliged to switch from full time to part time working to manage the dual pressures of home schooling with working in paid employment.
At the time of writing the Government is not yet ready to discuss openly, or publish, the latest employment figures, not least because the annual Labour Force Survey (LFS), which usually accompanies benefits claimant data, has undergone substantial changes in the way it measures employment, to reflect the need to account for furloughed workers. What it does confirm, however, their figures do show that between September and November, redundancy amongst the female workforce jumped from 3.8 to 12.1 per 1,000.