How to reach the millennial mum? And in which stroller does she prefer to transport her children? Millennials no longer feel attracted to traditional marketing and advertising. But what is the cause of this? What are they guided by in their buying behaviour and what do they consider important when they make one of the most important purchases, a stroller for example!
The Netherlands has more than 3 million millennials. They have a clear position in the labour market and a great influence on education, work, media and marketing. Millennials buy less, but when they buy they do so consciously, according to an American research by KRC Research. It is their answer to the buying behaviour of recent years in which overconsumption is central. For this research a thousand millennials, also called generation Y, were interviewed. They are people born between 1980 and 2000, now between 19 and 39 years old. They were questioned about the purchase of shoes, bags, clothing and jewellery. No less than 89% of those surveyed said they would rather buy authentic products than fake ones, especially in the luxury segment. Quality is also important, 94% say they prefer a luxury product to several other products with a lower value. If millennials do not agree with the way a manufacturer works, they have the power to deliberately not buy a product or to ‘buycot’ it.
Millennials prefer to communicate online rather than face-to-face
Millennials grew up with a smartphone or tablet in their hands. Instead of face-to-face conversations, they prefer to communicate online. Therefore, possible orientation and shopping are done online. So it is important to invest in digital content that shows what you have to offer as a brand and product.
Experiences are more important than material things
But despite the fact that there is a lot to choose from and that millennials can be physically and online present all over the world, this target group is also searching. Instead of a full-time job, a permanent address with financial obligations, they find other things more important such as happiness, passion, diversity, sharing and discovery. This is the conclusion of CEB Iconoculture, researcher of this consumer behaviour. Millennials are mainly concerned with what they want to get out of life, experiences are more important than material matters. Fixed values and certainties are particularly found in their friendships, family and certain brands.
Single households and small families
The number of singles in the European Union is increasing, families are shrinking and that means that housing is becoming scarcer. Experiments have already been conducted with new construction projects in which different households can make use of shared areas such as the garden, guest room and play area.
Marketing tips to reach millennials
- Repetition in the form of cross-channel. The power of repetition of advertising still works well for this target group as well, but in a different, varying form. This is called cross-channel marketing. So alternate a mailing with a social media post and a blog.
- Provide reliable information. Millennials can find anything anywhere, so do not try to fool them. Provide an authentic message without fuss. Use honest and useful information.
- Offer unique customer experiences. Whether physical or online: millennials are simply looking for unique customer experiences. Try to find out what their preferences are and create a personal message.
- Create a dialogue. One-way traffic doesn’t work for millennials. Talk to them and help them to choose. Create a bond with your brand by involving them in your brand and production process.
- An image is worth more than a 1000 words. Millennials feel attracted by beautiful images and less by text. Take care of your image and focus on creativity, a positive message and humour.
Small research among Dutch stroller brands
We conducted a small research into the baby market and formulated the following question: which stroller appeals to the millennial mum?
Judith van Sambeek van Dorel
Our studies show that the Millennial Mum is looking for a different type of stroller. They usually live in the city, have a busy life and do not want to compromise when a child comes. This mum wants it all. She wants a stroller with a nice appearance, comfort, maneuverability and enough space for the groceries she gets from the supermarket around the corner. The Millennial Mum is sporty and still as stylish as ever. This includes a beautiful stroller with rich, temperature-regulating fabrics in ‘edgy’ colours. There is also a demand for a stroller that transforms with the growth of the family.
Marcel de Visser of Thule Group
The Millennial Mum is investigating carefully what suits her. She cannot be pigeon-holed, so the wishes are also very diverse. What often recurs is safety, quality and sustainability. We are a Swedish brand and here quality and safety are extremely important; our products are without exception of high quality and our internal safety tests are heavier than any law requires. We notice that this, combined with the comfort for parent and child, is greatly appreciated. Users share this information on social media and this information is then found in places where the Millennium Mum gathers her information. Sustainability is also considered important. The consumer already assumes this, so a good explanation will only make the decision to buy easier.
Lousanne Shep van Joolz
Today’s parents are looking for a stroller that is not only ergonomic and safe, but also qualitative and durable. It would be nice if the stroller would last a long time or if it could be passed on. Joolz also believes in this and gives Lifetime Warranty on the latest strollers and now also has reflective elements in the fabric, for example. This is very much appreciated. We also see that more and more people are opting for a sustainable fabric. Thinking constructively about the future, that is what we think parents care about. There is also a clear demand for original and beautifully designed strollers. On the Joolz website you will find a configurator where you can design your own ‘taylor made’ stroller.’
Maike Korteweg of UPPAbaby (Jamak)
Actually, all USPs of UPPA babies address the Millennial Mum. The stroller should look hip and modern but at the same time be very easy to use. Our stroller is very easy to fold, we do not think there is one that folds more easily. The XL shopping basket also plays an important role in the purchase process. A young mother understands very well how much she has to carry with her, especially when the family expands. But the most important thing is that the stroller evolves with the family. It is a sustainable mono stroller but in no time at all to expand into a duo or twin stroller and back again. We also see that consumers choose more consciously. “Millennials are looking to the future and which stroller is easier when a second or third child comes.
Nausikaä van der Leest of EasyWalker
For the Millennial Mum, the quality and look of a stroller is particularly important. The stroller must be sturdy and comfortable. And, because on average, they live in smaller housing than the generation before them, the compactness of the (folded) stroller plays a role. We also see an increasing demand for strollers with larger, ‘all-terrain’ wheels in the Dutch, German and Scandinavian markets. At the same time, a lot of attention is paid to the travelling convenience of the product. Think of buggies with trolley function, cabin-size buggies, lightweight strollers, etc. Other trends that strike us are: collaborations with fashion designers and more frivolous, more special fabric designs. From other markets, there seems to be interest in new business models around ‘pay per use’, such as leasing and a subscription form.
Andrea Staring of Recaro, BabyZen and Doona (CnerJ)
Small, smaller, the smallest. Parents especially want their stroller not to be too big and foldable in a compact way. Not only because young parents travel a lot, but also because they prefer to use public transport because of the environment. Ergonomics is also important for parents and children, as well as self explaining, intuitive products that are easy to use. Sustainability is also a trend, but it has not really penetrated the rolling stock yet. In addition, it is a must that the stroller looks trendy and stylish.
Parents often spend lots of time and money on their own living environment. However, a baby or child’s room might deserve even more attention, since the spent amount of time in it is so big. Of course, it has to become a room in which a child feels good and is able to grow, day after day. We wave the Scandi and industrial look goodbye, and we are up for a couple of new trends. According to baby trendwatcher Carola Siksma-Ruiters from BabyWereld, these are the following:
Boho and Tribal
In the boho or bohemian style, we recognise influences from cultures from all around the world. Slightly casual but also extravagant. Little is white in these rooms, but there is a unique composition of styles and colours. This theme is perfect for turning a baby room into one big exploration trip. Make use of rich and warm gemstone colours, such as dark blue, ochre, and burgundy. Do not apply too much in the baby room, a tiny bit of sapphire blue or emerald green is sufficient and perfectly combines with a pastel shade like pink. Finish this off with a wall with big flower prints, a sweet mobile, elegant bed canopy, and a vintage rug.
Often seen in the interior nowadays: nature stones like marble, granite, terrazzo, but also clay. Perhaps a bit intense in a child’s room, but many lookalikes also exist. The colour palette from the canyon fits with this, which consists of all colours of Mother Earth including sand, pink, orange, up to deep dark red shades. These colours beautifully combine with nutty, green, grey, and white shades. Making sure that these rooms will have a calming effect on the children playing, sleeping, and later on studying here. According to Flexa, the colour of the year is Spiced Honey. This herbaceous, honey-brown colour excellently fits in here!
How appropriate is it to also decorate a baby room that is as pure and durable as possible at the beginning of a new life? For this trend, parents also choose for natural materials in terms of furniture and accessories. Think of rattan, willow, seagrass, light or darker wood types. Combine these with natural substances like linen, jute, wool, and organic cotton. Also consider velour, a luxurious substance that is going through a revival and can be processed in a plaid, pillow, or other accessory. Woven substances are also reintegrating in the interior as the covers of little chairs or special tapestries. Top the little room off with rattan chairs, a cradle, or a doll pram. Colours: all naturals combined with green shades and pastel shades.
A good design is about form and function. For parents who love design, lots of beautiful and special pieces of furniture that can easily qualify for a design award can be found. Such as a little chair in the form of a saddle of Masahiko lto. It helps to bring children in the right position, and this position also allows them to concentrate better. No bold colours, but clear colours that combine well with white, light-grey, or naturally coloured furniture pieces. Geometrically painted walls in a couple of speaking colours finish off the design room, for a quick and original effect and less expensive than a wallpaper!
Trend colour 2019 of Pantone: Living Coral
This colour can be used as an accent colour for diverse themes. With design, it becomes a cheerful accent colour, but it also perfectly fits with a baby room that is equipped with natural shades of Mother Earth for a calmer appearance.
Trend colour 2019 of Histor: Quiet Clearing
An elegant, deep green shade that causes an earthy and wealthy feeling. The green colour brings nature back into the house and has a calming effect.
Trend colour 2019 of Flexa: Spiced Honey
A warm amber shade, like the colour of nuts and honey. Spiced honey can be calming, cosy, or lively depending on the palette you combine it with.
A stylist’s opinion:
Dark colours in the baby room
Mirjam Gesink works as a stylist for the children furniture and accessories brand Coming Kids, Kids Depot, and Stapelgoed. She says: ‘baby rooms have lost their urge to be sweet and full of pastel colours a long time ago, they can nowadays be stylish and tough. Even black is allowed in the baby room, like the black dresser Bliss from our collection, beautiful in combination with terra tints that in turn match well with the cognac leather handgrips. Baby room Hoy also fits this theme well; a stylish dark wood baby room, with a trendy honeycomb pattern in the fronts. The rich colour and materials, such as brushed dark bronze-coloured handgrips and a brass-coloured bed provide a luxurious appearance. Beautiful in combination with the colour ‘Quiet Clearing’; a dark deep green trend colour of 2019, according to Histor.’
Jungle animals & birds
There’s also news on the subject of accessories: ‘Children and animals always make a good combination’, Mirjam says. ‘So we can happily bring these back into the baby room. Think of tough metal hooks in the form of a giraffe, elephant, or lion, or a nice soft rug in the form of a crocodile. We will also see lots of birds this year, in the form of felt bird houses on the wall or a hanging lamp in the form of a birdcage!’
According to Mirjam velvet or velour has also made its return. ‘You see it everywhere. Not just in the interior, but also in the baby room. This substance can be processed in beds, baskets, box cloths, and lamps. Lovely, soft, and fuzzy.’
What does the future bring us on the subject of feeding babies and children? The developments are coming fast, so let’s shine a light on products that are marketable or in their concept phase. One thing is for sure: nothing can replace the breastfeeding mother, but more and more products that approach this way of feeding very closely are arriving on the market.
We have noticed several important trends from all the innovations passing us by. Firstly: more and more breast pumps and bottle systems are aimed at helping mothers in breastfeeding for as long and as comfortable as possible. Secondly: mothers are under time pressure, so clever products are developed for limiting this pressure. Thirdly: more and more techniques are processed in products that can be connected to apps on smartphones and tablets. Fourthly: the role of durability in terms of material use and recycling is increasing more and more in product development. Let’s outline some innovations.
Borrn silicone baby bottle
Studio Blond in London designed a bottle with silicone interior: Borrn. With this, they claim to be the most hygienic bottle on the market. According to the developers, the content of the bottle never gets in touch with the plastic, but only touches high-grade BPA free silicones. The Borrn bottle has a double side, the plastic structure of the bottle is inside of the silicone side. This makes the sides of the bottle thicker than normal, but this also makes the bottle firm and the material is heat-resistant, so that sterilizing is not a problem. The bottle is also durable, because hardly any plastic is processed in it. Thanks to the oval shape, the bottle can easily be grabbed and it does not roll away. The bottle grows with the child and can be given on to other children. And if you want to throw the bottle away, Borrn requests you to send it to them, so they can recycle it. Blond also had the opinion that many bottles were looking much too stereotyped: pink designs for girls and blue frills for boys. While the parents are the ones who give the bottle-feeding. In order to break with this, the choice has been made to use gender neutral colours.
Like a mother’s breast
The Borrn bottle reminds us of the mimijumi bottle that was launched several years before. The bottle is designed in such a way that the appearance, soft material and the colour look like a mother’s breast. However, more improvements have come in the meantime. For the new Zerø.Zerø anti-colic bottles of Suavinex, the anatomy of the woman’s breast has been closely observed. The teat expands from the middle and the natural shape and length of the nipple are simulated as good as possible (read more about this further in this number).
Self-thinking bottle Bebo
Bebo is equipped with sensors that keep track of how much a child has drunk. This information is sent to the smartphone of the parent. It also is a self-cleaning bottle. The idea comes from a group of students for the Innovation In A Week Project of the Ministry of New Things in Eindhoven. The Bebo bottle runs on a battery so that the milk can be heated and given anywhere and at any desired moment. The founders of Bebo Company hoped to bring the bottle on the market, but it got stuck at the prototype phase.
Why do mothers first have to pump milk and only thereafter give the bottle? This question made a mother think of Pump2baby: a pump in which the milk can directly be given to the baby through a tube and teat. The benefit is that pumping and feeding can occur at the same time. This means time gain. When children are hungry, the feeding can start right away. Nutrients do not get lost. This also saves time otherwise put in washing bottles and teats. Besides time gain, this can be a solution for mothers when a baby is not willing or able to drink from the breast for whatever reason (by ‘Moedermelknetwerk’).
We know the Difrax pump, with which mothers can pump handsfree, but the American label Willow goes one step further. Willow conducted a study and discovered that 89% of the women wants to pump handsfree and that 67% of the women prefers to not take off any clothing for it. The inspiration for Chief Technology Officer John Chang was his own wife. He developed two oval-shaped shelves with techniques that women can put under their bra. The willow pumps calmly and silently, it collects the mother milk in donut-shaped plastic bags that are hidden in the shelves. Through an app and Bluetooth, it can be registered how much milk is pumped and when this is done.
The Elvie that was introduced on Kind + Jugend last year works according to the same principle. The English Elvie is an intelligent wearable breast pump with shelves that are specially designed to wear in a feeding bra. Elvie is light in weight, works almost silently and has no tubes or wires. It is a matter of properly putting the silicone parts on the breast after which the shelves can be clicked onto them. Elvie then proceeds in a different setting. When the bag is full, the pumping automatically stops. Elvie consists of five parts that can easily be cleansed. It is possible to see how much milk is pumped and when this is done through an app.
The benefits of handsfree pumping are clear: no hoses and wires, mothers do not need to be half-naked when feeding and can perform contact-free pumping anywhere: on the train, in the car, on holiday, at work, and during meetings. In these systems it is important that the shield is put on the breast/areola in the right way and right angle, injuries may otherwise arise. This asks for exercising and this way of pumping will not suit every mother. Because there were still some user problems, Willow has now launched a 2.0 version with transparent parts, which allows mothers to see where to put the shelves and to see the milk flow.
More brands are taking big steps in the context of comfortable pumping. For example Medela, who now bring a PersonalFit Flex technology after having conducted extensive research. Their new pumps Swing Flex and Swing Maxi Flex are equipped with oval-shaped shields that are opened wider than the standard shields. The result: more milk production, better emptying of the breasts and improved comfort (read more about this further in this number).
To help mothers pump for longer and to avoid valuable mother milk from getting lost, complete systems in which it is possible to directly pump into a feeding bag exist on the market. The little bag can then be stored. When it is time for the bottle, this bag is put in a bottle holder without having to pour anything over. Examples: Suavniex Zerø.Zerø and the Babymooc Twist.
Heer feeding bench
Although breastfeeding in public is accepted more and more, many mothers do prefer having some privacy. Mothers often have negative experiences when it comes to breastfeeding in public. This is because most public spaces are not really set up for mothers with small children, and when there are spaces, these are grubby, uncomfortable, and not inviting for feeding. Design agency 52hours in Prague devised a solution for this: the Heer feeding bench. The pink bench provides comfort and privacy when mothers want to feed their babies. The bench has a long shape with a big seating with rounded parts at the end. These parts fold around the upper part of the mother as if these are two wings, without isolating mother and child from the outer world. The seating can be turned, which allows mothers to determine in what direction they would like to sit. The baby can also be rocked back and forth in this. The rest of the bench offers enough space for others. The bench received the name ‘Heer’ as an answer on the question ‘Where can I breastfeed?’ ‘Here’ was the answer, which was degenerated to ‘Heer’, but it also refers to ‘Her space’.
Breastfeeding for fathers
For whoever did not know it yet: fathers are capable of breastfeeding. For her final study project, product designer Marie-Claire Springham devised a hormone kit which realises this. The kit contains a breast pump, a compression vest, and hormones that should stimulate the milk products. By also giving fathers the possibility to feed, she want to relieve some pressure from the feeding mothers. This also creates a better connection between father and child. If fathers have this desire, they do have to take a prenatal course and take medication. Fathers-to-be receive progestogen for nine months, which is a substance that is also in the mini pill and is appropriate for women who want to give breastfeeding. Progestogen is also used as anticonception. These hormones generate breast-formation in men, the fathers also receive domperidone six weeks prior to the birth. This medication was originally meant for improving the intestines, but has milk production as an extra effect. It is a substance that is sometimes prescribed to mothers when they produce too little milk.