"Cybermum": the housewife 2.0


In the old days, we used to swear by the housewife under 50. Pampered by TV, cared for by magazines, rocked by radios, she was the queen of the media, the target of targets. Then the Internet arrived, and this "housewife", like the others, connected to it. She started shopping there, and then even the sales. She found there spaces to exchange with other housewives. She exhibited her creations, her cooking recipes, photos of her garden... She became a "cybermum" in the space of a click. Portrait of a new target.

More and more cyber-consumers

According to Médiamétrie's Observatoire des Usages Internet, online shopping is attracting more and more new consumers. In the 4th quarter of 2011, 30.7 million Internet users bought online, an increase of 11 % and nearly 3 million new cyber-buyers were won over in one year. At the same time, confidence in the act of buying online, which is the main obstacle to its development, is growing steadily: 66.5 % of Internet users now say they are confident in entrusting their bank card number to a website, an increase of 7 % in one year.

For Marc Lolivier, General Delegate of Fevad (Federation of Distance Selling), "2011 will remain a historic year for French e-commerce. More than half of the population now orders on the internet. All categories of French people are concerned, regardless of age, socio-cultural background or place of residence". And among these "categories" that are increasingly moving to cyber-shopping, we note that the percentage of women, which has long been relatively low, is catching up with that of men, with +15 % of female cyber-shoppers in one year. Enough to put back on the easel the portrait of the reference female target, the housewife of less than 50 years old, until now supposed to push her shopping cart in supermarkets and run the shops ...

The Cybermum, a new reference target

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KR Media and WebMediaGroup have been carrying out this work since 2011, with the help of Ipsos, by setting up a quarterly observatory of "Digital Mums". This observatory will provide a more in-depth socio-demographic profile of housewives under 50, their habits and consumption patterns, taking into account the role played by the Internet in consumption patterns.

"Digital mums", "Cybermums", these new economic players now represent more than 8.7 million French people, i.e. 17 % of the population aged 15 and over. An important figure, since it is not so far removed from the 10.7 million women who make up the traditional target of housewives under the age of 50. For the sake of comparison, 80 % of the Cybermums are housewives under 50, and 64 % of the housewives under 50 are Cybermums.

The "Digital Mums" of WebMediaGroup and KR Media are mostly aged between 25 and 49 (80 %), they are active (77 %), have a sustained pace of life (62 %) and are more numerous than elsewhere in Paris and its region, and, surprisingly, in rural communities. They establish a difference between their "real" age (40 years old, on average) and their "felt" age, which is 33 years old; and declare that they act as much by intuition or emotion (50 %) as by reason (45 %).

Specifically, 44 % of the "Digital Mums" declare spending more than 20 % of the family budget on the Internet. The motivations for these purchases are time saving, unlimited hours compared to the opening hours of shops that are necessarily closed at one time or another, and the feeling of making good deals. To guide their choices, they use all the tools at their disposal: price comparisons, advice sites, forums, etc. The most important shopping items are: ready-to-wear, home decoration and equipment, children's clothing, games and cultural products. Food is still lagging behind with only 8 % of purchases.

And behind this broad portrait are in fact 4 somewhat different Cybermums:

- The Practical Digital Mums make up 18 % of the target. They are mothers who use the Internet above all in its very practical aspect. Their main uses: searching for practical information, consulting job offers and real estate offers;

- The "Shopping Digital Mums" make up 28 % of the target. They buy everyday products on the web (food, products and services), carry out their administrative procedures, declare their taxes, consult maps and itineraries. For this purpose, they mainly visit well-known websites and practical shopping still dominates, for them, shopping for pleasure. For 80 % of the "Shopping Digital Mums": "Shopping on the Internet makes life easier";

- The "Social Digital Mums" make up 30 % of the target. Their searches on the network are not limited to practical information but extend to information in general. They also use the web for its playful aspect. Very present on social networks, they nevertheless buy half as much on the Internet. They are big consumers of online media, whether TV, press or radio.

- The "Social & Shopping Digital Mums" make up 24 % of the target. Synthesis of the two previous categories, they are very often connected and have a very active life on the network through chats, forums, community sites. They buy both on high profile sites and on the web 2.0 (auction sites, collaborative sales sites...) and are the most numerous to wish to buy even more on the web (73 %). They do not hesitate to make judgements about the products they buy (the famous "Opinions" of cyber-buyers) and are particularly sensitive to brand communication and its content.

The web uses of Cybermums

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What uses do Cybermums make of the web outside the strictly commercial aspect? According to the Ipsos study for WebMediaGroup and KR Media, they use it primarily at home, in the evening after work (77 %) and at weekends, "quietly" (55 %); but also at the office, during lunch break (15 %) and on the move, on mobile phones (13 %).

In terms of social networks, 59 % of the Cybermums have a Facebook account, 6 % a Twitter account, 3 % a LinkedIn account and 7 % a Viadeo account. Above all, they use these networks to broaden their circle of friends (78 %), to stay on top of the latest news (75 %) and to keep in touch with family and friends (75 %); but also to have fun (64 %), to share their passions (58 %) and to exchange good tips and addresses (51 %).

Moms first and foremost, Cybermums also attribute educational values to the web. For them: a quarter of them go to forums and information sites to find answers to the questions they have about their children's education. For the "Digital Mums" aged 18-29, the Internet is even the second most important source of information on education after their own mothers. But also for their children: for 54 %, the latter use the Internet at home for games and entertainment, and for 50 %, for research as part of their schooling. On this subject of the web and children, the Cybermums remain very attentive: 88 % believe that totally free access is dangerous for children, and 74 % believe that social networks are only acceptable from the age of 15.

Finally, still in the context of the mother of the family, the Cybermums see the Internet as a useful recourse: for administrative procedures (91 %), for health-related questions (78 %), for questions on the impact of daily actions on the environment (64 %) and for childcare problems (17 %). 

(Article published in / May 2012)

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