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“Mums have become cautious online shoppers”

Parents’ attitudes to the trustworthiness of online shopping has changed dramatically in the last 12 months, according to Ruth Clement, research director for Consumer Fluent.

For the last 15 years, Ruth has been undertaking a continuous ‘listening project’, talking to parents about their ever-changing consumer habits and behaviours. More recently, this research has shown that mums of newborns have shifted from being avid, online sourcing ‘enthusiasts’ to adopting a more cautious, circumspect approach.

“Women describe to us how, in the first 18 months of parenthood, saving money becomes an obsession,” said Ruth. “The internet has always played a prominent role in helping mums find bargains, make price comparisons, seek the value that suits them. However, I’ve also noticed a real change in attitude in the last 12 months as confidence in the authenticity of products sold online has declined.”

She continued: “This change comes at a time when, with Mothercare store closures and the demise of Babies ’R’ Us, parents have fewer places they can conveniently go to and physically examine product and are more dependent on internet retailers by default.”

This is particularly evident in the trust placed in Amazon and the distrust of Amazon’s Marketplace. Many shoppers describe their frustration when they realise that the product they are in the process of buying is being sold by a different trader.

Mums report particular anxiety when this happens in certain low investment categories where products come in to contact with a baby’s skin or are ingested (skincare, bath wash, baby food, formula, teethers) as well as in high investment categories in which babies are placed for safety or to sleep (bouncers, prams, cots and cribs).

“However,” continues Ruth, ” it is also interesting to note that branded direct-to-consumer sites and branded seller space within Amazon both offer consumers that all-important provenance-trusted status.”

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