Mumbai: If there was one thing that sets Asian women apart from their counterparts across the world, it would be their natural ability to be tiger moms. This comes across clearly as Indian and Chinese mothers would do everything it takes to ensure that their children reach developmental milestones earlier than other children. They were also the only ones willing to push their budgets to buy the best brands for their children. What also sets them apart from the rest of the world is that they rate being energetic as one of the top three qualities necessary to be a good mother.
These were some of the key findings in a recent “Global Motherhood Survey” on women, who were either pregnant or had children under the age of 2 years. The study was conducted by Frank About Women, a think tank which was set up by the LoweMullen Lintas Group, 14 years ago, with a mission to help marketers better understand how to connect with women through effective, creative communications—an aspect which was increasingly important considering that mothers control 85% of home purchases and wield an estimated annual buying power of $2.1 trillion in the US, alone.
The study, which used both quantitative as well as qualitative analysis, was conducted on feedback from 1800 respondents across six markets, namely - Australia, China, Colombia, India, the UK, and the US.
“China gave the world the concept of tiger moms, while India is considered an achiever society—where mothers want their children to be super achievers. There has been a constant comparison between the Indian and Chinese economies, we thought it would be interesting to see how the mom-economies compared,” said Devika Sharma, India lead for Frank about Women, executive director GolinOpinion—the public relations arm of the MullenLowe Lintas Group.
“What come through in this study are some clear points of similarity owing to the fact that they both come from ancient eastern cultures, which sets them apart from the rest of the world as well as points of difference, where Indian and Chinese mothers are poles apart,” she said.
One area for the glaring difference between Indian and Chinese moms was the way they regard themselves. About 92% of Indian mothers were confident that they were good or excellent mothers, as compared to just 66% of Chinese mothers who felt they were good mothers.
A sizeable 34% of Chinese mothers, the highest globally, felt they were average or not-so good mothers. Moreover, the emerging confidence of the Indian mom is helping her find her voice in the joint family set-up, with 70% believing that mothers should assert their views over family elders in raising the child. As many as 75% also believe that mothers should demand more help from husbands in raising and looking after their child.
When it came to raising their children, Indian mothers were everything Bollywood made them out to be, selfless creatures who would give up on everything to provide the best for their children. Chinese mothers, on the other hand, were closer to Australian mothers, on the other end of the axis, and believed that self care was more important than being selfless.
On the qualities that were required of a good mother, both Indian and Chinese moms, rated “being energetic” as one of their top three traits, tying in neatly with their urge to be “super achiever moms.” While patience was the top rated quality globally, 66% of Chinese mums rated patience as top quality of a good mom, higher than the global average of 53%, while only 38% of Indian mums rated it as the top virtue.
Both Indian and Chinese mothers wanted their children to reach developmental milestones faster than others. Though Indian mothers were 107% more likely than other countries to encourage their children to reach milestones ahead of schedule, they exhibited performance anxiety and were also more stressed about it. Chinese mothers, on the other hand, were more relaxed, and believed that children are more resilient.
When it came to the role of technology, there was a vast difference in the approach. 60% of global moms felt that children should not be exposed to technology at an early age, with 79% of Colombian moms and 62% Indian moms actually feeling that early access to technology is harmful to kids. But 60% of Chinese moms wanted their children to be exposed to technology at an early age to pave the way to success.
The way they buy brands for their children, Indian and Chinese moms were perhaps the only ones willing to stretch their budget for a branded product. However, the similarity ended there. 84% of Chinese moms were obsessed with finding the best brands and products for their children. About 74% of Chinese mums were willing to pay a premium for brands. However, Indian moms were more discerning with only 30% willing to pay a premium for brands.
Said Amit Shah, associate director, marketing, Beverages, Candy & Gum, Mondelez India Foods Pvt. Ltd, “At Cadbury Bournvita, our focus remains in addressing a mother’s concern to get the right balance of nutrition for the physical and mental well-being of her child. We believe that mothers today are really conscious about their child’s holistic development. They try to instil good habits in their children, to prepare them to stay ahead of the unforeseen life challenges, and good habits stick, when children enjoy them. All our Cadbury Bournvita TVCs are emotional, in an otherwise functional category and masterfully interweave these insights to the Bournvita philosophy of Tayyari Jeet Ki.”
Globally, mothers tend to have similar experiences and outlooks. The study found that as mother progressed from being pregnant to motherhood, globally respondents said that 9 out of 10 pre-baby worries they had about motherhood were more severely anticipated than they turned out to be.
The one worry that they had anticipated, but turned out to be much worse, was the lack of sleep. Moreover, globally respondents which agreed, pre-baby, that they wanted to be perfect moms, were happy to adopt a more realistic approach post-baby. They were happy to be the best moms they could possibly be rather than chase some rigid definition of perfection. The other global trend, that came through in the study was the increasing role that “frexperts”—or friends who had been mothers before, played in their lives. Globally, post-baby, mothers placed more emphasis on managing household duties to such a degree that their relationship with their spouse took a back seat.