Ideas to serve older new moms

July 26, 2013

New moms under age 25 at a record low, while moms 40+ uptick.

Besides glowing new parents and adoring grandparents, some of the people happiest about new babies being born are teachers and food retailers. More minds to educate and more mouths to feed help fortify their financial futures.

Yet a new Pew Research Center analysis of CDC National Center for Health Statistics data suggests why teachers and grocers may not be smiling much since The Great Recession slashed birth rates among younger American women.

According to the NCHS data, birth rates among teens age 15-19 fell eight percent, and among women 20-24 fell five percent—both to record lows in 2011. Meanwhile, the birth rate for women age 40-44 rose one percent.  (see table)

Though the birth rate could head back up once the economy improves, The Lempert Report still thinks food retailers should adapt messaging, assortments and store layout to a significant base of new moms who are relatively older, more mature, savvier in their purchases and more driven by convenience than traditional younger moms.    

For example, older moms and single moms may be less swayed by cute rather than functional. A few ideas might include: 

  • Sell diapers and heavy formula multipacks online and deliver them to homes. Keep only limited inventory in stores. Why make moms lug awkward packages or risk fruitless trips when the store might be out of stock. They’ll value the savings in time and energy.
  • Offer combination deals that help drive up tickets and build a store’s market share in key baby needs categories. Group diapers with wipes, bottles, nipples, food and related needs.
  • Supply credible, sourced baby care information at the shelf to help moms make educated decisions on food and formula.
  • Though moms typically have pediatricians, their access may be limited. Why not build baby care authority through relationships with local healthcare professionals in appropriate markets, who could answer routine care and feeding questions as an adjunct to moms’ primary care providers?
  • Consider a vending unit outside the store for middle-of-the-night emergency supply needs. These would be smaller packages that yield higher-than-usual margins.

The shelf space saved by some of these ideas could lead either to smaller, more navigable formats, or more impactful displays that help drive more impulse sales.