Infinite Dial Moms and Media

The annual Moms And Media tech study released to coincide with Mother’s Day each year takes on new meaning in our current COVID-19 reality. Edison Research VP Melissa DeCesare revealed that 72% of moms agree that technology has been essential during the current health crisis.

Most of the data for Moms And Media 2020, and presented during a Thursday (May 7) webinar, was gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic and uses information from Edison Research’s annual Infinite Dial series. Moms And Media, presented by The Research Moms at Edison, explores the use of mobile devices, smart speakers, social media and online audio. For this study a mom is defined as a woman having a child under 18 living in her household. The average age of participating moms is 40. Edison Research surveyed an additional 326 moms in a national, online study to get perspective on media habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional online study shows that moms are using devices and media more during the pandemic, with 16% using AM/FM radio more since the outbreak began.

As has been revealed in other studies since the health crisis hit the country, smart speaker usage is also up among moms, with 21% saying they are using the devices more in recent months. Smart phone usage is up 63%.

Additionally, 49% of moms agree that their children are using new technology and devices during the health crisis. These digital natives, already familiar with Tik-Tok and Snapchat, are now learning about Zoom and Google Meet as they, and their moms, navigate distance learning.

The main reason moms are listening to audio during the pandemic is for relaxation and enjoyment, with 74% citing this as the top reason. For this instance, audio consists of AM/FM radio, online audio sources and podcasts. The remainder of the sample, 26%, are listening for information related to COVID-19.

Audio (74%) is the top media type moms are using for relaxation and entertainment during the pandemic, with social media (68%), TV (65%) and the internet (61%) following. The majority of moms (72%) agree that technology has been essential during the pandemic and more than half (54%) are spending a lot of time with their children using technology for distance learning.

The pandemic has also changed media consumption habits for moms, with 25% saying it is hard to find time to listen to online audio like podcasts and music. One reasons for that is 33% say they are consuming more of their children’s media for entertainment than their own. They are also out of the house less, as commutes have diminished with work-from-home mandates and fewer social activities for both moms and their children.

“This virus has turned life upside down and parents have the added pressure of guiding children through this unsettling time,” DeCesare said in a release. “Moms are masters at balancing tasks in normal circumstances, but they have found even more capacity to multi-task in this pandemic. Additional responsibilities like distance learning and managing the family dynamic while in isolation are increasing the need for media and technology in the home. This year’s study shows us that moms are meeting these challenges by relying on media, devices and technology to help them get through this new normal.”

Moms And Media 2020: Pre-Pandemic

Key findings from the Moms And Media 2020 study from data culled prior to the pandemic show that moms rely on devices, with 89% owning a smartphone and 69% owning a tablet. Voice assistants rank high for moms, with 33% owning a smart speaker and of those who own at least one smart speaker, 59% own two or more. Overall, 67% of U.S. moms use some form of voice operated assistant. The study found that 58% of moms own wireless earbuds or headphones and 32% own a Bluetooth-enabled fitness tracker. Moms spend an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes daily listening to radio, the study reveals.

A majority (82%) of moms access the internet using their mobile phones, with 68% saying they are using the internet more during the pandemic. In 2020, 87% of moms use some kind of social media, down from 92% in 2019. Facebook remains the most-used social media platform, with 81% having accounts and 72% saying they use Facebook most.

Weekly online audio listening holds steady for moms in the latest annual report. Eighty-three percent of moms have “ever” listened to online audio (AM/FM radio and internet-only audio sources); 76% in the last month and 70% in the last week. Moms spend an average of 14 hours and 49 minutes a week listening to online audio. Daily, moms are listening to radio an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Listening to AM/FM radio, either over-the-air or online, holds steady year-to-year, with 78% saying they have listened to AM/FM radio in the past week. That percentage was the same in 2019 and 2018.

Podcast listening continues to gain among moms with 39% saying they have listened to a podcast in the last month; 24% in the last week and 57% saying they “ever” listened to a podcast. – Jay Gleason