Young moms using social media to find, buy products

Retailers should engage with consumers and monitor what's being said about their services

A majority of Canadian mothers now rely on social media platforms to both discover and buy products, a new report by Mintel suggests.

"Consumers are highly engaged on social media and the power of posts is seen to be influential on purchase decisions," Carol Wong-Li, senior lifestyle analyst with the international marketing intelligence agency, is quoted as saying in Mintel’s Social Media Trends Canada 2015 report.

In addition to young adults, Wong-Li notes marketing efforts on social media platforms "should garner the attention of audiences that may be traditionally harder to reach, such as French speakers and older women.”

According to the report, in addition to 59% of Canadian mothers, "millennials" (young adults aged 18-34) are the most heavy users of social media sites, with 75% visiting at least one site daily.

READ: Translating millennial values into opportunities

Those sites include Facebook (65%), YouTube (51%) and Twitter (27%).

The majority of millennial men (51%) are notably identified as being "most likely" to use three or more social media sites on a daily basis.

Parents with children living at home are also identified as being "highly engaged" in social media activity.

Fifty-three percent of mothers with kids at home are also considered to be heavy social media site users. That is nearly double the number of heavy users over the age of 45 (28%).

According to the report, the majority of Canadians who use social media do so to keep in touch with family and friends (68%) and to research products and services (29%).

Millennial women (41%) and mothers with children at home (38%) are most likely to get reviews from friends and peers before buying.

“Our research indicates that Canadian millennials and parents not only visit social media sites more frequently than consumers overall, but they are also more likely to use social media as a tool for products and service recommendations and deal seeking-actions as most are typically operating within a budget," said Wong-Li.

"The sharing element may be beneficial to brands who engage consumers on social media, as active social networkers have proven they are willing to share content with friends and family, who, in turn, are willing to listen and make purchasing decisions based on that feedback.”

For Jui Ramaprasad, an assistant professor at McGill and an expert on the effects that information technology-enhanced social interactions have on consumer behaviour, the results of the Mintel report confirm the growing power of social media sites in the marketplace, and underline the need for retailers to both engage with consumers there and monitor what's being said about their products and services.

"They need to follow the market," said Ramaprasad.  "But it takes sustained effort because there is constant migration between platforms, and new ones like Instagram and Snapchat are emerging."

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