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Mothers Use Digital Tools to Research Symptoms

Free shipping, lower prices are good enticements for online purchases

December 3, 2013

It’s probably a little too easy for anxious parents to fall down the Google rabbit hole when their kid is sick. But there’s also no doubt that search engines and apps can provide a tremendous benefit to those struggling to take care of an ill child. In November 2013, Research Now and BabyCenter surveyed mothers in the US, finding that they were using a number of digital tools to conduct health-related activities—not just for children, but for themselves as well.

The most popular health-related digital activity among respondents was looking up symptoms, which 76% of mothers engaged in. The next most popular activities were researching childhood development (73%); reading information about medicine or healthcare (58%) and tracking ovulation, pregnancy or a child’s development (55%). Significantly less popular: using digital channels to actually communicate with a healthcare provider (16%).

Health-Related Digital Activities of US Internet Users Who Are Mothers, Sep 2013 (% of respondents)

Mothers were also taking advantage of smart mobile devices for similar purposes. Nearly eight in 10 used a smartphone or tablet to find online health information, while more than half tracked ovulation, pregnancy or childhood development on a web-enabled device. Apps were also an integral part of their digital activities, with 53% of respondents having downloaded an app related to health or well-being to their mobile device.

Leading Health-Related Smartphone/Tablet Activities According to US Smartphone/Tablet Users Who Are Mothers, Sep 2013 (% of respondents)

The survey also found that there were two main factors that influenced mothers’ decisions about making online purchases: free shipping and offers of lower prices than could be found in brick-and-mortar stores. Significantly fewer mothers were interested in signing up for subscription ecommerce services, checking out online product reviews from other parents or finding out more information about products.


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