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‘Gold Moms’ Rising as Lucrative Consumer Segment

Posted August. 16, 2008 07:17,   


Kim Min-ji, a 31-year-old mother with an eight-month-old daughter, buys three types of wet tissues: tooth wipes, wet tissues for wiping her baby’s mouth and hands, and baby wet wipes.

She washes her daughter’s clothes with natural soap for fabric without chemical additives. Instead of using fabric softener containing surfactant laxatives, she uses Japanese liquid citric acid diluted in water. Kim spends 50,000 to 100,000 won on wet tissues and detergent every month.

“There are dozens of products for baby hygiene in large discount chains or department stores. I don’t think spending on them is a waste because it’s better than getting atopy or asthma,” she said.

○ “Gold moms” considered lucrative consumer segment

“Gold moms” refer to women who open their wallets without hesitation for their young children, replacing “gold miss,” or an affluent single woman in their thirties, as the most lucrative segment in consumer market over the past two to three years.

An analysis by E-mart, which has the most stores nationwide in the industry, said the monthly average number of purchases made by gold moms was 3.9, higher than that of an average customer (2.8). They also spent an average of 257,000 won per month, almost double that of an average customer (134,000 won).

A gold mom’s shopping list usually consists of expendables such as baby formula, diapers, wet tissues, toothpaste for children and other childcare necessities, so the analysis found they frequently dropped by the stores.

With the number of children per household on the decline, mothers are increasingly heading towards shelves with high-end products for their babies. For example, sales of Absolute Gung, a baby formula produced by Maeil Dairy, rose 40 percent in the first half of this year from the second half of last year despite a relatively higher price of almost 27,000 won, almost twice the average price.

With the rising purchasing power of gold moms, the retail industry has developed a new sales equation: the number of baby carriage rentals in one day determines that day’s sales.

Nam Yun-yong, a marketing manager at the main branch of Shinsegae Department Store, said, “The more customers who visit our store with their babies, the faster our sales grow.”

○ Winning over gold moms

The retail industry has staged diverse marketing efforts to win over gold moms.

For example, E-mart offers vouchers to “Mom-Kids” members and awards double mileage for customers with two or more children when they use a credit card. The number of subscribers jumped from 91,000 at the end of 2006 to 297,000 now.

Lee Yu-hyeon, a customer relations manager at E-mart, said, “We also have other promotional programs such as giving free books or tickets for cultural performances that mothers and children can enjoy together.”

Hyundai Department Store offers mini-shopping carts for children in the grocery section of its main Apgujeong store in Seoul and its World Trade Center branch. Children can follow their mothers around and put things like biscuits, yogurt and fruit into their carts, while enjoying shopping as a form of play, Hyundai said.

Lotte Home Shopping has also introduced hygienic covers for children’s seats in shopping carts as more women shop with their kids sitting in carts.

FnC Kolon, a fashion apparel firm, will open a separate shop for Little Marc, a children’s fashion brand, to be sold within its parent “Marc by Marc Jacobs” stores.