Tara Hirebet
May 27, 2013

Mum's the word, and the ultimate consumer

Cater to a 'mumsumer', and you can become the go-to brand that caters to her entire family—and every other mom she recommends you to.

Mum's the word, and the ultimate consumer

As the Asian consumer arena continues its rapid evolution, it is important to remember that traditional values are still a priority for many Asian consumers. Last month we looked at just one example: education (see "Why Asia will never be too cool for schools"). This month we look at motherhood.

Like other traditions, motherhood too is getting a modern update, as increasingly affluent Asian mothers demand that brands provide them with solutions to keep them extra safe, healthy and protected, as well as make their lifelong journey through motherhood richer, more meaningful and more fun.

Remember: 'mumsumers' are also super-consumers. The power of their purse extends beyond their own purchases, to encompass household, children and big-ticket purchases, too. In Indonesia (56.9 per cent), Philippines (56.7 per cent) and Myanmar (55.2 per cent) of women manage their household’s monthly spending, While in Korea (53.2 per cent), Indonesia (52.2 per cent), and Vietnam (50.1 per cent) of women control big ticket purchases. (Mastercard, March 2013).

Driving this trend

Being a mother is still considered a key measure of a woman’s success in many Asian societies and families. Being the bearer of that all-important and increasingly sole child and heir means no amount of expense or attention is too much to ensure the safety, health and happiness of a mother (especially during pregnancy.)

Many modern Asian mothers are time-pressed and ambitious perfectionists. Juggling career, family, entertaining, and personal needs from fitness to socializing and social causes, even mumsumers with home help will snap up every convenience, so they can juggle it all to perfection and look good doing it (“yummy mummy”).

Whether working or recently working, these women come from a place of financial and increasingly physical independence. They will exercise their voices, clout and power—and they expect that their needs be properly met.

Four ideas to help your brand better cater to modern Asian mums

#1 Prima donna mammas

Create luxurious conveniences for increasingly affluent prenatal and postnatal mothers. Think butler-style at-their-doorstep to in-suite service packages. In September 2012, Apollo Group opened its largest Cloud 9 hospital in Bangalore, India. Their four-day, three night, “Signature” maternity package includes a Mercedes-Benz chauffeur pick-up service, bathroom shower jets specially designed to ease pregnancy pains, a choice of birthing music, and access to private pre and post-natal fitness consultants and a lactation counsellor.

#2 Mommy Power

Lend your brand’s clout to causes that mean the most to momsumers. And be the first to do it. During World Breastfeeding Week in August 2012, a flash mob of 30 Wuhan mothers nursed their infants outside a department store to protest the lack of public nursing facilities. In response, Johnson’s Baby China launched a  “Spare space, spread love” campaign that encouraged 2000 offices to designate temporary breast-feeding areas. J&J also created an interactive map of shared nursing facilities in major Chinese cities.

While in Singapore this May 2013, Nestle Gerber, Pigeon, and GV Cinemas are collaborating to offer special Mums & Babies Cinema showtimes: baby-friendly cinema screenings that come prepped with free diapers, diaper tables, wipes, baby food and more.

#3 Solo Supermoms

Help Asian mums juggle daily lifestyle tasks—and working life—with kids, especially when they are on their own.

Released in January 2013, Ford’s smaller SUV model – Kuga, caters to Tiger Mums in China, who like soccer mums, single-handedly run errands and drive their kids to tuitions and activities.  With this in mind, the car includes special features like a boot that opens via a foot-activated motion sensor for hands-free loading of heavy packages.

Meanwhile, Hatch Co-Work + KIDS in Asakasa, Tokyo is a 200 square metre co-working space for 50 mums with an in-built playroom for 20 kids, allowing Japanese mumpreneurs to work and simultaneously care for their kids.

#4 The social mommy network

Provide modern Asian moms with their own hip, mommy-friendly and mommy-only city guides and social media. Sassy Mama, a HK-based online lifestyle guide for “modern mamas” just launched in Singapore. The publication offers curated shopping recommendations, urban family-friendly outings (including museums, brunches and even rainy-day survival guides), expert sections on health, babies and helpers, and not just eating out but also eating in guides.

In short, whatever your consumer category, there’s an opportunity to be the brand that’s truly “for mums” in Asia. And if you do, they’ll be more than for you too.

Tara Hirebet is head of Asia-Pacific at Trendwatching.com, "an opinionated trend firm that scans the globe for the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas".

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