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Greystripe: iPhone moms lucrative demographic for retailers

October 29, 2009

She upgraded to an iPhone

She upgraded to an iPhone

Mothers who are in charge of household purchasing decisions are increasingly buying smartphones such as the iPhone, making them an attractive demographic for retailers to target on mobile.

During the third quarter of 2009, mobile ad network Greystripe did an in-depth exploration of its iPhone users, focusing again on the iPhone Mom demographic, which in the past has not been a group that advertisers could readily reach through mobile applications as they tended to be late adopters. However, the iPhone has greatly altered the mobile application user demographic and many new demographics can be reached through in-application mobile advertising.

“Once we say ‘These moms are consuming content on the mobile device,’ the next question is ‘What exactly are they doing?’” said Michael Chang, CEO of Greystripe, San Francisco. “In terms of things related to commerce, 79 percent of iPhone moms use it for some activity related to shopping—that’s an incredible stat.

“If you think about brands like Ragu or Lean Pockets or JCPenney or Subway, how can they not be advertising on mobile when this is what people are using the device for,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer for brands.

“People are using this device to manage shopping lists, so what does that mean for brand advertisers?”

Greystripe offers targeting to its advertisers based on age, gender, location and device.

The iPhone Mom is now a common and active mobile application user. This demographic is particularly interesting to advertisers, as iPhone Moms are the dominant purchasing-decision-makers for households with several consumers.

Ninety-six percent of iPhone Moms are involved in their household purchasing decisions, with 40 percent being the sold decision-maker.

“Our focus at Greystripe is really on the brand advertiser side, all the way from the top of the consideration funnel in terms of purchase intent down to research and the deeper dive on products, building brand awareness and motivating people to buy, increasing their purchase intent via mobile advertising,” Mr. Chang said.

The Greystripe report looked at both the demographics of the iPhone Mom and how she uses her iPhone for day-to-day tasks like shopping.

Eighty-six percent of iPhone Moms are between 25 and 54. Seventy-one percent have household incomes between $32,000 and $165,000. Eighty percent of iPhone Moms have attended at least some college.

Seventy-nine percent of iPhone Moms use their phone for shopping-related activities, including 60 percent who use their iPhone to locate the nearest store.

Forty-two percent of iPhone Moms use their phone at the grocery store. Keeping track of the grocery shopping list is the most common activity, followed by looking up recipes, comparing prices and downloading coupons.

The iPhone Mom downloads many types of applications, but games and entertainment applications are the most popular with 94 percent downloading applications in this genre. Music was second at 76 percent, followed by social networking at 50 percent.

“Now finally the iPhone and mobile devices have the potential to be the true third-screen in terms of media consumption,” Mr. Chang said. “We’re at the beginning of media companies caring about the wireless device as a pipeline for their content, and advertising is soon to follow in a major way.

“The iPhone in particular is a true media device, and the iPhone Mom is a really interested demographic,” he said.

The iPhone Mom report is based on data gathered from Greystripe iPhone and iPod touch users during the third quarter of 2009—July 1 through Sept. 31. Statistics are based on surveys run in its network during this time period.

“The survey was intended to shed light on that audience, trying to make some connection to audience and ad performance and share the data with the industry,” Mr. Chang said. “Brands want to understand what moms are doing while they’re on the go.

“Brands are asking sophisticated questions about their target audience to better understand who their consumer is, and the first step is for them to feel comfortable with mobile as a medium,” he said. “If they understand more of who this person is, its puts in a bunch of descriptors and lets them tune the mobile campaign to reach that mom.

“Who is this person and how am I going to tune my campaign to reach this busy mom on the go?”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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