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What Makes Them Buy: Millennial Parents in 2023

Fellow marketers, we’ve spent our fair share of time mulling over research about Millennials – what they eat, what they drink, how they engage, how they spend their money and time. As Millennials age up (the oldest Millennials have reached midlife), it becomes equally important to find out how Millennials are doing with the adulting thing, and that means family.

In this post, we look specifically at how a few important characteristics of Millennial Parents and how they use social media to make purchasing decisions.

Millennial Moms

Who Are Millennial Moms?

Estimated to be born between 1980 and 1995ish (we actually adjusted this date since we first explored this demographic in 2018), Millennial women are now between the ages of 28 and 43 years old. They are the kids of Baby Boomers and Gen X parents.

More and More Millennials Are Becoming Moms

More than 80 percent of new moms are Millennials, according to BabyCenter. Approximately a quarter of America’s mothers are Millennials, and about half of Millennial women are now moms to school-age kids. I want to say the number falls somewhere around 10 to 12 million moms, but I can’t say for sure. What I can say is the percentage of mothers who are Millennials will increase over the next decade and a half. Why so long? Well… in part, because women are starting their families later and giving birth to kids well into their 40s. And the youngest Millennial women are still in their late 20s.

Millennial Moms Really Are Different From Previous Generations

what makes millennial parents buy - buyer behaviors of millennial parents pinterest pin

Culturally… Sixty-seven percent of Millennial Moms are multicultural, according to research from Carat. In fact, Millennial Moms and their children are part of the two most ethnically diverse generations currently living in the US.

When it comes to the work-life thing… Like Gen X and Boomer Moms, most Millennial Moms work, often out of necessity. And it’s a heavy load to carry for the one in three moms who feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, according to data released by MDLIVE. Thirty percent of Millennial Moms work full time, and 35 percent call themselves homemakers.

In 2018, one-third of Millennial Moms were the primary breadwinners in their households, and a third of THEM were either unmarried, or not cohabitating with a partner. In 2022, for moms as a whole, nearly half (47 percent) are the primary breadwinners for their households.

But as the children of Millennial Moms get older, balancing their own mental health with that of their kids’ mental health is proving to be tough.

When it comes to a sense of self… According to Think with Google, 67 percent of millennial moms say they have continued to pursue their personal passions since having children, which is significantly higher than Gen X moms.

When it comes to money… Unlike mothers of generations before them, Millennial Moms are, by and large, more confident with (and more savvy about) finances and products that protect their family’s financial well-being.

Millennial Moms and Their Identities As Mothers

Motherhood is crucial to the identities of Millennial Moms. In fact, with so many “social” eyes watching, being a perfect mom is a goal to which many Millennial Moms aspire. In a world where Millennial Moms must work, 17 percent of Millennial Dads are now stay-at-home dads.

Work-Life balance is an ideal to which many Millennial Moms aspire. One in four Millennial Moms is willing to pay at least $50 a month to have someone step in and help them keep their home lives organized. About 20 percent of Millennial Moms are willing to pay up to $150 a month for that kind of help. It’s probably a good move considering one in five family meals are now being eaten in a car.

Get this: 9 in 10 Millennial Moms would clone themselves if the option were ever on the table. Interestingly enough, about a quarter of the women polled would send then their clones to medical school just so they’d be able to step in as doctors or nurses as needed. Me? I’d have the cloned me in charge of laundry. And proofreading. And Instagram engagement. Laundry, proofreading, and Instagram engagement.

And maybe those third and fourth performances of The Nutcracker at my daughter’s ballet school.


  1. Housekeeper – 56%
  2. Laundry service – 51% 💯
  3. Chef – 41%
  4. Nanny/babysitter – 38%
  5. Personal assistant – 36%
  6. Personal shopper – 34%
  7. Tutor/homework helper – 31%
  8. Handywoman – 30%
  9. Chauffeur – 28%
  10. Doctor/nurse – 26% 😄

Source: SWNS Digital

How Millennial Moms Use Social Media

Millennial Moms are social creatures indeed, significantly more social than Gen X Moms. While Millennial Moms favor Instagram and Facebook (average MM has 500 Facebook friends), the typical Millennial Mom have 3.4 social media accounts, compared to 2.6 accounts for moms, according to Weber Shandwick’s Digital Women Influencers: Millennial Moms report.

For Entertainment

Millennial Moms prefer smartphones to laptops. More than half of the Millennial Moms surveyed said they spend most or all of their time online using their phones. They also spend more than 17 hours on social networks every week. That’s 30 percent more time than the average mom spends on social sites. Millennial Moms spend two hours more per week on social than they do watching TV.

For Community

Where Millennial Moms are concerned, “community” is the magic word. Millennial moms have more close friends than the average mom (24 vs 22 for other moms). Yes, they spend more time on social, but they’re not vegging out on Instagram. They engage with one another. The average Millennial Mama gets asked for a product recommendation 9.6 times per month.

An infographic image on comparative charts between Total Moms and Millennial Moms by Weber Shandwick.

She also offers her own unsolicited product recommendations online 10.4 times a month.

An infographic image on comparative charts between Like and Tweet by Weber Shandwick.

Millennial Moms rely on the online communities they’ve built to make buying decisions and are totally okay with offering their opinions online about products – any products at all. They talk openly about clothes, brands, retailers, experience-based services, and even financial products.

 An infographic image on data charts on information about products and services being shared from Weber Shandwick.

In addition to giving advice, 46 percent of Millennial Moms look to the recommendations of their own networks when it comes time to make buying decisions.

How They Shop

Moms control 85 percent of household purchases, with spending power that tops $2 trillion. Women also outpace men when it comes to using mobile for shopping, especially in-store shopping.

Millennial Moms Look for Deals

Millennial Moms shop for deals. Here are a few interesting stats from Tribe and Retail TouchPoints:

  • 83 percent of Millennial Moms shop online to hunt for the best price
  • 79 percent of Millennial Moms use e-commerce to get a better selection of products
  • 62 percent of Millennial Moms shop online because of the good shipping options
  • 57 percent of Millennial Moms shop big sales like Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday
  • 49 percent of Millennial Moms shop at big box retailers and clubs for discounts and bulk buying opportunities.

I, and 41 percent of my female contemporaries, look up email promotions while actually in the store.

How does that play out? While my better half is loading the conveyor belt with products from our cart, I am punching in the names of products as they move down the belt to find discounts. Between the time we get in line and the time hubby hands over the cash, I can usually cut our bill by up to 25 percent with coupons I can click to download to my phone in a few seconds. I count it a victory, a dazzling display of teamwork.

That’s women shoppers for you.

An infographic image on data charts on Millennial Moms shop for deals from Trybe.

What about brand names? Well, Millennials, as a whole, tend to be less brand-focused than Gen Xers, Flipside: Millennial parents can be swayed. More than half of Millennial parents say they are “very loyal” to a brand once they find one they think is the perfect marriage of quality + price.

And Millennial Moms heavily favor speed and convenience to streamline as much of their day-to-day work+life tasks as they possibly can. One in four Millennial Moms has a smart home assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo. And of those who have such devices in the house, 31 percent of Millennial Moms use them to add items to their shopping lists.

Millennial Moms are far more likely to have necessities like diapers and beauty products delivered to their homes than to spend time combing the aisles for them in-store. Forty percent of Millennial parents currently use a subscription service.

Millennial Dads

Who Are Millennial Dads?

If you think there’s a bit of a gap between how Millennial Moms do things compared to previous generations of moms, I gotta say: Dadhood has changed quite a bit as well. While the youngest Millennial men are still finding their footing in the workforce, older Millennial Men have officially reached middle age (gasp!). No less cool… just older.

Millennials are parenting about half the world’s kids. No small feat, considering we just posted about how there are 50 million kids heading back to America’s public schools for the 2022-23 school year.

Without a doubt, Millennial Dads are responsible for some of the biggest shifts in fatherhood… maybe ever. They are more likely to think of fatherhood as important to their identities; when polled, 9 in 10 Millennial Dads even went so far as to say it’s important for them to be the “perfect dad”.

Crushing It As Dad

Millennial Dads spend five more hours per week with their children than dads did in 1995, and 3x the number of hours dads from 1965 spent with their kids.

Prince Harry’s request for a two-week paternity leave just ahead of the birth of his baby boy made headlines. Granted, I’m not exactly sure what he does as his 9 to 5 (other than be the most awesome Royal), but his request isn’t an unusual request for today’s new parents. Paternity leave is a priority for Millennial parents; 80 percent of Millennial Dads would be reluctant to leave a job that offered paternity leave.

Millennial Dads prioritize family time, and many of them are sharing in the day-to-day responsibilities of raising children and maintaining a family. Half of the two-parent households say they split the household chores equally between the parents.

How Millennial Dads Use Social Media

For Millennial men, fatherhood seems to turn on that social media gene. About 70 percent of Millennial men use social media, according to Nielson Newswire. They use blogs, online news websites, and social networking sites to make purchase decisions.

By the same token, 70 percent of Millennial Dads seek out parenting information online, according to Think With Google. And most of the time, that searching is done using the device closest to them – usually their smartphones. When are those moments showing up? Daily. Half of the dads are heading to social media daily for parenting advice.

As well, 45 percent of Millennial Dads use search to get answers to questions on everything from the best baby products to the best cities for families. This they do in lieu of getting advice from their own dads, by the way.

Dad Time

Far more than Boomer fathers, Millennial Dads are kicking in on one-on-one time with the kids, the shopping decisions, and the housework. As most Millennial families are two-income households, the changing role of fathers in the home is just too big for marketers to ignore.

Millennial Dads dedicate 28 percent of their time online to dad-related content and 60 percent of Millennial fathers say they’re better dads because of the resources they’re able to find online. One such resource is YouTube. Moreso than millennial Moms, Millennial Dads rely on YouTube for parenting guidance and as a way to connect with their kids.

How Millennial Dads Make Buying Decisions

When we ran down the stats for our recent back-to-school post, one of the things that stood out was the fact that, on average, dads outspend moms on back-to-school stuff by more than 100 bucks.

It’s not really a question of whether or not Dad goes shopping. It’s more a question of how Millennial Dads are shopping. Eighty percent of Millennial Dads handle (or chime in on) the household shopping, and we’re not talking about getting a list from Mom and running an errand she doesn’t have time to run. I’m talking about Dad doing a little research then going to the store to buy what his family needs. And Millennial Dads shop a little differently than Millennial Moms.


Millennial Dad probably isn’t going to the store in a fanny pack stocked with coupons as Millennial Mom. He isn’t even super-duper concerned about loading up his grocery store app with digital coupons. One, it takes too long, and most dads are all about getting the task done fast and done well. And two, handing a fistful of paper coupons to a pretty cashier is not on any dude’s list of ways to crush it. It’s just not.

So, if you’re a brand that’s targeting men, discounts are great and they absolutely WILL make it more likely that Dad will buy your brand… but add the discount to his rewards account automatically as points or email it to him. Don’t expect him to spend time in the evenings searching your app for a $3 off coupon.

Quality Counts for Something

Millennial Dads shop for quality more than Millennial Moms, AND they are more concerned about quality than Millennial men without kids. According to MediaPost, 66 percent of Millennial Dads say that high quality is extremely important. By comparison, 50 percent of Millennial men without children, 45 percent of Millennial Moms, and 51 percent of the general population focus on quality.

A Brand’s Value and Values Matter to Millennial Parents

A brand’s corporate values matter as much as the quality and value its products deliver. About half of Millennial Parents always will a brand’s views on topics that matter to them personally, according to an article published by the National Retail Federation. An article went on to say that 45 percent of Millennial Parents will only shop for brands that reflect their own social and political values.

In-Store Mobile

Both Millennial Moms and Millennial Dads will use their phones in-store to enhance their shopping experiences. The difference is usually a matter of what they’re looking for.

Moms are more likely to be looking for deals. Dads? Product reviews. Dads also use their phones to find nearby locations, look up store hours, and create shopping lists while shopping.

An infographic image which reads Constantly Connected from NFR. INFOGRAPHIC EMBEDDED CODE.

Courtesy of: The Shelf Full-Funnel Influencer Marketing



Millennials are the most educated generation on the planet, and the most socially connected in decades, but they face trials American parents haven’t had to face in recent history.

Economic instability, the recent pandemic, job uncertainty (Millennials change careers more than Gen Xers, Boomers, or the Silent Generation ever had to), climate change, and shifts in the global political landscape can have a catastrophic impact on the future of the entire world.

This is the environment in which Millennials are rearing children. Yet, they spend twice as much time with their kids as previous generations. Millennial Dads are home more to shoulder some of the responsibility of helping around the house. Millennial Moms are somehow present with the kids AND working full-time.

Millennial parents value parenting as perhaps the most important part of adulthood, out-ranking even professional aspirations and financial success. So, it seems Millennial parents are crushing parenthood… or at the very least, raising the bar.

For brands and marketers: use social media marketing, video marketing, and of course, influencer marketing to help parents streamline and even marry the research+ purchase process so that Millennial parents can achieve what they want most – to optimize everything around them in an effort to preserve and prioritize family.

About the Author

Sorilbran Stone | Content Strategist

I serve as the resident content strategist and the official Head of Content Marketing at The Shelf. Marketing is my happy place. I’m as happy looking at analytics as I am actually creating a thing. I focus a lot on dreaming up and implementing the best ways to create, publish, and distribute content that will build your brand and get your audience to do a thing.

The path to purchase is basically a carnival [not so] funhouse.

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