Smartphones Are Go-Everywhere, Do-Anything Devices for Mothers - eMarketer

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Smartphones Are Go-Everywhere, Do-Anything Devices for Mothers

Portability and efficiency make smartphones a staple for mothers on-the-go

October 9, 2013

Smartphones are the all-purpose device-of-choice among mothers, according to an August study from BabyCenter, which found that in the past year alone, the number of US mothers using smartphones increased nearly 34%. And 46% of these mothers admitted being addicted to their smartphones. In fact, when asked which device they would keep if they could only choose one, more than seven out of 10 mothers who owned a smartphone, tablet and PC said they would keep their smartphones and scrap the rest.

US Mother Smartphone Users, 2011-2013 (% of respondents)

These mothers aren’t kidding when they say they’re attached to the phone. Their phones are always at hand while shopping in stores, watching TV, in the car, in bed and in the kitchen, with at least nine out of 10 reporting that they kept the phone on them during each of these activities and in each of these places.

How are mothers using smartphones? They are do-everything devices. Mothers were 38% more likely than the general population to use their phones to be more efficient and half as likely to use them for fun and entertainment compared to the general population. In addition, US mother smartphone users engage in a wide variety of activities on their smartphones, with more than half performing nearly every smartphone activity the survey asked about, from looking up health info to watching videos to banking to social networking, to texting, to nearly everything in between.

Smartphone Activities of US Mother Smartphone Users, Aug 2013 (% of respondents)

Motherhood also changes how mobile mothers use their smartphones. After having children, respondents were more likely to search for parenting and pregnancy information as well as increased activity on children’s apps and parenting social media sites.

Still, despite their dependence, mothers feel ill-at-ease about their smartphones. Mothers were 15% more likely than the general population to view their phones as essential tools but also 17% more likely to think of them as “necessary evils.” Additionally, nearly one-third of US mothers on smartphones felt their smartphones distracted them from parenting, representing something an attitude shift from 2011, when just 18% said the same. This is indicative of the way in which smartphones have become an inescapable, but also fraught, part of everyday parenting.

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