From a colloquial perspective—“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”—we’ve long understood the power of mothers. Now The Nielsen Co., which tracks consumer trends and behavior around the world, has actual data that supports the adage as well. So in honor of Mother’s Day, May 9 (I know you won’t forget!) I want to focus on the growing economic power of moms.
Make that “Power Moms,” described by Nielsen Online as “women aged 25-54 with at least one child…who represent nearly 20 percent of the active online population,” and who are “wielding more influence than ever.” Nielsen wanted an intimate view of moms’ use of digital tools and asked a select group of U.S. women to reveal how they use their “digital toolkits” to juggle careers, manage demanding family schedules, streamline spending through online banking, coupon sites and retailer channels. Within Nielsen Online’s Power Mom blogger segment, composed of more than 10,000 parenting and mom-oriented blogs, Nielsen found blogging Power Moms are increasingly concerned about the economy and are savvy shoppers, scouring the Internet for money-saving strategies and solutions. And According to M2Moms, African-American mothers are more likely to read articles online (68 percent) and listen to music (45 percent).
Now, I’ve only held the distinguished title of “mom” for the last 13 years. I’ve been a daughter and a woman, however, for more than three decades (I said more than; didn’t say how much more). And I think the growing economic power of women period—nationally and globally—is truly something to celebrate. According to Nielsenwire.com, citing Boston Consulting Group data, here in the U.S., almost all income growth over the past 15-20 years has come from women, while men have seen flat or even declining incomes. The study also showed that the average woman is projected to earn more than the average man in the U.S. by 2028; and over the next five years estimates that the global incomes of women will grow from $13 trillion to $18 trillion. And let us not forget the fact that women control or influence a whopping 65 percent of the world’s annual consumer spending, which amounts to about $12 trillion. (That’s what I call power!)
Ladies, regardless where your powerbase lies—in being a woman or a mother—I’d like to share a few Mother’s Day beatitudes I’ve picked up over the years to help your family skip the stress and have a day of peace (our most preferred gift).
1: Guys if your baby’s mama needs a new blender or vacuum cleaner, and you want to keep her happy (see column’s opening sentence) buy her something romantic instead. Nielsen stats show that as women’s incomes grow, so does their decision-making power in household purchases. Chances are, while mom can get a great deal on a household item, she’d rather you opt for perfume, flowers or something pretty for her to wear. Trust me on this one.
2: Dads, give of yourself and your time. The economy is still tight but it doesn’t cost anything to voluntarily take on some of her chores for a week (or longer), e.g. doing the laundry, washing the dishes, watching the kids. (No, dads, when they’re your kids you aren’t babysitting). Or, take her dancing. It doesn’t have to cost much or even be ballroom style (unless you’ve learned from Dancing With The Stars how to do that sexy Paso Doble). Take her “steppin’” at the local club. She’ll appreciate the two of you spending fun time together, (and you, umm could benefit from her happiness for weeks to come).
3: is for the kids. Older kids, if money is low, take dad’s lead and take on some of the chores. For the little ones, if you can find a broken crayon and a clean piece of paper, you can make your mom happy with a beautiful handmade card. But please don’t try to pull a masterpiece together two minutes before you hand it to her. I speak from experience on this one; any last minute gift will be taken as an insult. So put some thought, love and a little elbow grease into it.
4: Ladies, go see your mom. Spend the day with her without taking her criticisms of you too personally. Remember that one day you will be her. And more power to you all.
To my mom, Ms. Ellie/Eaun/Katherine, Thank you. I love you.
(Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is SVP of public affairs and government relations at The Nielsen Co., the world’s leading marketing research company that measures what you buy and what you watch. Go to www.nielsenwire.com.)