A Survey for the Ages





I was right in my element several weeks ago in a room full of mom frugalistas, mompreneurs and other media types who came to hear the results of the first annual "Mom Shopping Trends Report" conducted by Totsy.

          For those not familiar with the private sale website, it was founded about 18 months ago by entrepreneurs Guillaume Gauthereau and Christophe Garnier; ex-FAO Schwarz president David Niggli joined the company as chief merchandising officer in January 2011.

          Before I get into the details of the study, some background on Totsy. The socially responsible website offers moms and expectant moms access to brand specific sales, up to 70% off, both for them and kids ages 0-7. Membership is by invitation or request only and sales on items such as prenatal care products, baby gear, travel accessories, bedding and bath, children's clothing, toys, DVDs, and educational materials, last only 48 to 72 hours. The company plants one tree (in a dedicated forest in Alto Huayabamba, Peru) in honor of a child with a customer's first purchase. They also keep them watered with each subsequent purchase.

        Now on to the survey. It polled 1,900 moms of different ages with interesting generational comparisons revealed about the shopping habits of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Y. Topics included the impact of the recovering economy, the emotions behind their purchases, a comparison between online and retail shopping and how seasons and holidays play into spending. For those who need a refresher in the age breakdowns: Baby Boomers (46 and up), Gen X (26 to 45) and Gen Y (18 to 25).

        According to the survey, the recession has permanently altered the shopping habits of 80% of respondents with a growing number purchasing items on sale and using coupons. Interestingly, 86% of moms purchase items online and 32% of moms place online sales sites in their top three cost-savings strategies. Younger Gen Y and Gen X moms are more likely to turn to private sales and refer their friends.


          Regardless of generation, price, quality and value were the most important purchasing factors with Boomers more focused on value and Gen Y moms more focused on low prices. In addition, one in four moms compare the emotions felt when finding a good deal to that of receiving guiltless chocolate or a special night with their significant other.

          While toys were not the focus of the study, here are some stats regarding the category:

  • Gen Y is by far the most likely to be active online in purchasing children’s toys. Both Gen X and Boomers are active but not likely to purchase more than 25% of their children’s annual toy purchases online.
  • Books were voted the highest used product to keep kids occupied during summer travels, followed by toys/games and portable video games/media players. CDs/MP3 players are the lowest used products to keep kids occupied during summer travels.
  • Boomers rank toys and video games less of a priority compared to Gen X and Gen Y.
  • Toys and games top the charts as the most frequent gift given to children for the winter holidays, with apparel and electronics following behind.
  • Boomers gave toys and games less frequently than Gen X and Gen Y.

          If you're interested in finding out more details of the nationally representative study, please contact Stephania Greendyk at stephania@southardinc.com.

Leave a Reply