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Millennial moms give birth to a digital revolution

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Today, there will be 9,000 babies born to millennial moms in the U.S. Tomorrow, there will be 9,000 more. That’s a lot of busy 25 year-old women and what they are doing with technology is having a profound influence on nearly every corner of the social media universe.

Why this is especially important is money. According to BabyCenter, millennial moms (born after 1981) account for $1.3 trillion in spending each year. Advertisers drool over their collective pacifiers about the chance to grab a slice of that market. And that’s why when BabyCenter released its comprehensive research study, titled “The 2014 Millennial Mom Report,” it got some well-deserved notice.

The group, which is based in San Francisco and is owned by Johnson & Johnson, held a press conference yesterday to elaborate on the report’s key findings. The report comes from a survey of 1,700 BabyCenter moms, plus in-depth, at-home interviews with 25 more. As BabyCenter’s senior vice president Mike Fogarty put it, “We love to collect a lot of information about our audience and share it.”

For those interested in keeping score, tablet makers, Facebook, and cable TV providers come out on the wrong end of the data gathered in the survey. But mobile phone suppliers, online retailers, and a whole lot of app makers stand to be the big winners.

For today’s millennial mom, a smartphone, mobile apps, and social media sites are their links to the world…period. Interestingly, while the mobile phone and laptop are the devices of choice, the tablet is not. BabyCenter’s researchers believe this is primarily an economic issue right now (tablets currently cost a lot more than phones), given the young age of moms who are nowhere near their peak earning years yet.

The primary uses are watching video, shopping, banking, and interacting with other parents, family and friends. BabyCenter also found a trend that is sure to send a distinct chill through the cable providers. While 96% of Americans get their entertainment from cable or satellite TV, less than half of millennial moms view content this way, preferring YouTube and other streaming sites. These moms are cord cutters.

And while Facebook remains a top mobile app among millennial moms, there are signs that it, along with Twitter, may be falling out of favor. Instead, they are big users of apps such as Instagram (now owned by Facebook) or Snapchat (desperately craved by Facebook). The research shows that there is now a widening gap between GenX moms (born after 1965) and the millennials in this regard. As one mom told BabyCenter researchers, “I use Facebook to keep up with people I don’t like.”

At yesterday’s presentation, Fogarty offered examples of the kinds of niche sites where millennial moms are especially active. Apps such as Easyshift and Gigwalk where moms can earn extra cash by snapping a smartphone picture of a supermarket shelf or sampling a restaurant meal are popular. Retailers such as FreshDirect (online grocery shopping), Diapers.com, and Cartwheel (a shopping savings site run by Target) are also widely used by millennial moms.

In the end, it all comes back to the smartphone. The millennial generation is increasingly relying on this device as the pipeline to the world and they are creating a custom media mix to drive their lives. As one mom was quoted, “I pay more attention to my phone than I do my husband.”

There’s your heartwarming technology message just before Valentine’s Day.

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