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What Millennial Moms Want

This generation of mothers has some new values—and it’s shifting what they want from brands and marketing…

As the next generation of families grows, it’s vital that brands talk to Millennial parents and not forget about dad–but of course marketing to moms is a long-standing tactic that’s not changing overnight. And Millennial moms do have their own unique needs, and their own unique influence. They’re a growing demographic with increasingly more spending power—and retailers want their attention. Starting in 2017, it’s estimated that 18-34-years-old will spend $200 billion annually. According to census data, nearly half of Millennial women are mothers, and 71% of them work outside of their homes. This coveted group spends an average of 17.4 hours weekly on social networks, and nine out of 10 like to connect with friends over their purchases.

By circumstance alone, this generation of moms is different from the ones who came before them. They grew up dependent on technology, and have made said tech a part of their parenting. They are more educated and more likely to be working, many of them the primary breadwinners for their families. They also prioritize different things, applying their own values and interests (nutrition, design, transparency) expectations and behavior as parents. According to Advertising Age, Millennial moms may also be “the greatest lifetime monetary value of any consumer segment in the history of marketing.” Because of the continued focus on mothers as the purchasing decision maker and leading caregiver of the family (despite modern parent’s personal ideals of a shared workload) more and more about what Millennial moms want is being revealed as their numbers grow. Here are four things it’s already clear they’re looking for:


Millennials are known for their desire for honesty & authenticity in marketing—and when we asked, 81% of 13-33-year-old females say that brands should use more “real women” in their advertising. Wanting a real representation of women doesn’t stop when they become moms, and in fact, they might be even more hungry for realistic depictions of their new reality. A recent global study found that advertisers “may be overestimating the value women place on appearances during early motherhood:” only 30% of new mothers and pregnant women would use “beautiful” to describe themselves, but 63% say marketers have used the term to described people like them. These “airbrushed version[s] of motherhood,” could cost brands consumers, as six in 10 Millennial moms state they rather see real moms in ads instead of actors. Seeing moms in marketing shown as having it altogether might make them feel badly in comparison—something they’re already getting enough of on social media. According to Adweek, 51% of respondents believe advertisers have an outdated view of motherhood, and don’t understand them. Less focus on perfection and more portrayal of moms as multi-dimensional is recommended.


As mentioned above, for new moms today, there are plenty of people to compare themselves to—their feeds are full of other parents who might make it look like having kids is a picturesque joyride, and that can be damaging. Of those Millennial moms on social media, 61% say that posts can make them feel inadequate, compared to 50% of other moms. Because of all that, understanding the realities of motherhood are more important to them than ever. Not only are they looking for the messy side of motherhood to be portrayed, they’re looking for someone to tell them that it’s ok if they aren’t perfect. After following a group of Millennial moms, Connelly Partners’ say empathy is key for brands looking to connect. The advertising agency found that the pressure is on for the moms of today, as they juggle being experts in cyber-security, nutrition, education, and physical fitness, all while portraying a “put together” image. Brands need to acknowledge their anxieties and challenges while offering them resources and reminding them to embrace the hard work they’ve done so far.


According to Fast Company, Millennial moms with a “strong sense of personal style” are setting a new standard in maternity wear, and niche retailers are thriving as a result. Gone are the days of moms-to-be becoming “fashion martyrs” during pregnancy and settling for “cheap and unfashionable” pieces. First time moms are older than ever—according to CDC the average age of first birth climbed from 24.9 in 2000 to 26.3 in 2014—and they have the means to buy high-quality clothing to fit their style. One of the fastest growing maternity brands, Rosie Pope, offers clothing on-trend with “what’s on the runway,” and retailers like ASOS and Topshop have had success branching into cool maternity styles. Even with these expanded style options, there are still calls from new generation moms for brands to provide more style for more affordable prices.


Their desire to show off their “strong sense of personal style” is also extending into what they want for their kids. According to our research, 95% of Millennial parents say they want their child(ren) to know they are special or unique—and they’re trying to instill that sense of uniqueness in everything from their kids’ names to their wardrobes. While Fortune criticized Goldman Sachs’ 2015 report on Millennial moms for not “quite captur[ing] the nuances of co-parenting,” they did credit it for picking up on some of the changes that new moms and dads today are ushering in. While parents in the past wanted their kids to fit in, the new normal is “non-normal.” As one mom says. “They’re wanting their kids to be individuals … when they’re shopping for clothes, they want them to stand out.” 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.