How China's two-child policy is affecting mothers' spending habits

GroupM's study looks into the media consumption and spending behaviours of expectant mothers.

How China's two-child policy is affecting mothers' spending habits

When China introduced its two-child policy in 2016, there was some scepticism over whether couples would take up the offer due to the rising cost of raising a child.

In their recent 2017 Mother and Child Survey Report on China, however, GroupM reports that 46.2 percent of women who already have a child said they were considering having another baby. The survey sample covered 2,209 women of child-bearing age as well as 27 men. 57.6 percent of the women surveyed were pregnant and 32 percent of the survey subjects were already parents. 

While China relaxed its one-child policy in 2013 for families in which either parent is an only child, authorities credit the universal two-child policy, introduced last year, for the second-baby boom. Out of the 7.4 million births recorded between January and May this year, 57.7 percent were at least the second child born to their parents. This will have a predicatable knock-on effect on sales: the GroupM report quotes a study from Roland Berger, which estimates that the baby care products market in China will be valued at 5.3 billion RMB by 2020.

GroupM's mobile team, which carried out the survey for the report, said mothers who already had experience with their first-born would have slightly different spending habits compared to new mothers. Compared to those who are new to motherhood, experienced mothers are more open to using second-hand baby care products and their purchasing behaviour is largely influenced by previous brand experiences. However, 78 percent of the subjects surveyed said they were wary of second-hand baby clothes; parents were more likely to buy used baby strollers and toys. 

The report also looked into the differences in mobile behaviours between expectant mothers at different stages of pregnancy in comparison to those who were childless and those who were already parents. 

Among expectant mothers who were in the first trimester of their pregnancies, 28.9 percent said they would reduce screen time with their mobile phones due to the possible health hazards of mobile devices on their foetuses. Expectant mothers in later stages of their pregnancies were less concerned about these potential risks, with only 19 percent of those in the last trimester saying they would reduce the frequency of their mobile phone usage.

Overall, 75.7 percent of the survey subjects said they consumed media on mobile, compared to 12.4 percent on TV and 3.5 percent on desktop. Among women who were not currently pregnant, 17.5 percent said they increased their mobile phone usage to check out parenting tips and shop for baby care products online. Articles with illustrations were found to be the ad format most favoured (81.5 percent) compared to videos (45.8 percent). GroupM's mobile team pointed out that the article and illustration format is mostly used for mobile apps on baby care products, and it is the most user-friendly way to present parenting tips to consumers. 

Here are the other highlights from the report. 

Preference for ad placements on mobile ads: 

Popularity of apps according by active users:

The most popular apps to reach the targeted groups, in descending order, were: baby-care related, video streaming, ecommerce, brands, and women’s interest.

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