We are releasing results of our new study that discusses the economic impact on today’s suburban mom. This qualitative research explored how the changes in the economy have impacted a wide spectrum of life activities, including shopping behaviors, vacation planning, daily family activities and parenting. In addition, the study reports on the underlying emotional shifts occurring for both moms and kids. The study focused on moms of children aged five through 12 years old in households with normal incomes ranging from $60,000 to $125,000 annually.
While everyone has been impacted in some way by this economy, there seems to be two camps that are emerging: the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots.’ The “haves” have a stable income. These are the people with salaried jobs who received a regular paycheck. The economic impact has been more of an inconvenience, with minor setbacks, such as a small number of forced furlough days or a salary freeze or a small reduction in salary.
The “Have-Nots” do not. These are the people that have been slammed by the economy. These people are corporate workers who have been laid off, or small business owners who were doing fine and have seen their revenues cut in half (or more), commission-only salespeople who were thriving before and are now barely able to get by.
The impact of all this economic change on family dynamics has been HUGE. Whether you are a “Have” or a “Have-Not,” all moms shopping behaviors and associated family purchases have changed. The prominence of the economic situation has given all moms a heightened awareness of what they purchase, and everyone is looking for ways to preserve cash, with the increased use of coupons, waiting for the inevitable sales, or forgoing “luxury” activities such as summer vacations and piano lessons for the kids. Dinners out have been cut by 75%.
The upside for everyone is that, out of necessity and then, true desire, we are seeing a yearning for and appreciation of “simple.” Going for a walk or playing by the pool has replaced going out to dinner or going to a movie as the family activity.
Moms recognize that their world (and their kids’ worlds) have been permanently changed, and the emotional baggage associated with these changes is tremendous. This economy has created a strange emotional cocktail of guilt and fear, anger and self-loathing mixed with gratitude for what they have, a simpler appreciation for their families, and an acknowledgment that a return to simple is actually good for them and their families. This is hard for many to process, especially for the “Have-Nots.”
Impact on Kids
Although younger and more sensitive kids are being shielded from the effects of this economy, most are not. Moms are either using the current environment as an opportunity to teach their kids about good financial practices, or they are, of necessity, explaining their revised situation with their kids.
Why Did We Do This?
There have been so many quantitative studies on changing behaviors, but, in order to really serve our kid- and parent-oriented client base, we felt we really wanted to dig deeper, to go beyond the numbers of women using coupons and get to the deeper issues and uncover the rich data for how and why it’s impacting family dynamics.
If you’d like to see a more thorough report on Moms and The Great Recession, please contact Rahna@Beacon-Marketing.com.