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Understanding Digital Moms

More than 95% of all US mothers are internet users

July 28, 2017 | Demographics

Mothers are a highly digital group and have been for some time, but their usage of digital is constantly evolving, often at a rapid pace.

As recently as 2013, fewer than two-thirds of US mothers had smartphones. Now it is more like nine in 10. And while mothers were quick to embrace Facebook, their adoption of Instagram and Snapchat is a recent development.

Some digital activities fall short of the early hype (think of “mommy blogs”), while others have snuck up with relatively little notice (like mothers’ enthusiasm for YouTube).

US Mother Internet User Penetration, 2017-2021 (% of total mothers)

And while US mothers may share certain characteristics, they are anything but a uniform group. “Under the broad rubric of ‘digital moms,’ differences in digital usage among different categories of mothers can be significant,” said eMarketer analyst Mark Dolliver, author of a new report, “US Mothers’ Digital Usage: What Matters More, What Matters Less.” (Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can access the report here. Nonsubscribers can purchase the report here.)

The differences are numerous, he said. “For instance, younger mothers spend more time with digital video than do older mothers. Married mothers are more apt than their unmarried counterparts to engage in showrooming when they are shopping. Mothers of infants tend to be more active in posting to social media than are mothers of teens. And so on.”

According to eMarketer estimates, more than 95% of all US mothers are internet users, spending about three and a half hours per day on it. For many, it is their chief source of entertainment and the first place they go for information. Streaming video has a big audience among mothers, and internet of things (IoT) technology has begun to gain a following.

US Mother Social Media User Penetration, 2017-2021 (% of total mothers)

Smartphones have become the chief device by which mothers go online—and a means by which they accomplish multiple tasks. But the anytime/anywhere aspect of mothers’ usage can cause friction within families. Smartphones are now the main device through which many mothers go online—and their lifeline to the world beyond motherhood. It has also become the main device through which they access social media.

Smartphones are now the main device through which many mothers go online—and their lifeline to the world beyond motherhood. It has also become the main device through which they access social media.

In the latest episode of eMarketer's "Behind the Numbers" podcast, the topic is mothers and their use of the internet. eMarketer's Mark Dolliver, Patricia Orsini and Jennifer Pearson break down the numbers and call out some generational shifts.

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