Marketing to iPhone moms, the new online power shopper

Companies looking to make money on the Web are trying to understand a fast-growing and big-spending demographic: moms.

From Procter & Gamble to AT&T and Pandora, firms are taking notice that mothers, newly armed with smartphones, are becoming a new kind of shopping force online. A decade ago, these women were single and childless 18- to 34-year-olds who captured the hearts of Madison Avenue marketing executives with their voracious consumer appetites. Now, they are older and often in charge of the household wallet.

Moms are the fastest-growing buyers of iPhones, and they are tuning in more frequently and for longer periods than any other group on media Web sites such as Pandora, a streaming music service. Nielsen Research says mothers are far more likely to share photos and news stories on Facebook via smartphones and computers than anyone else.

“We’ve known about the opportunity of online moms for a while now, but then mobile technology came along and blew everything up,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at research firm NPD Group.

Between business meetings, in carpool lines and at sports practices, moms are spending downtime on smartphones to update the family calendar, buy soccer cleats, research cheap flights and fit in a few rounds of Angry Birds.

Nielsen calls these women“power moms.” They represent one in five online users — a proportion that is growing quickly — and some research shows they are an even greater force on mobile devices.

The number of moms with smartphones is about equal to men of the same age, but they are adopting the technology at a faster pace. The number of moms who purchased iPhones grew 132 percent in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same time last year — outpacing men, who rose by 121 percent, according to NPD. Overall, adult purchases of the smartphone grew 117 percent.

Continue reading here.

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.

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