African Mums – Motherhood
The burden of Motherhood weighs heavily on the shoulders of African Mums
Just for Mums is a dynamic new online community established amongst mums (and mums-to-be) across South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. The members of this community share their hopes and dreams, their fears and worries and the every-day details around being a mum in Africa. The community has been established by a leading digital research and insights organisation, called Nudge. Nudge, an approved Vision Critical partner, utilises Vision Critical’s globally leading insight community platform, who pioneered insight communities some nine years ago.Our latest insights from the community are on the worries and habits of African Mums. While the results are still top-line, a total of 558 community members have participated to date. While the survey is still in field, we have some topline results to share as a teaser on what’s to come.
Concern for their family remains their key focus
Whilst many African women may no longer carry physical burdens on their heads, these have been replaced by an often even heavier load – of worries. Looking across South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, there is not a great deal of difference – the same worries plague mothers across Africa. Topping their list is their family, with a startling 81% worrying about their families all the time. Next up is finances (66% admit to worrying all the time), although Nigerian mums are just slightly less stressed in this regard (59%). Career (46%), relationships (45%) and health (42%) stack up next highest on their pile of worries. Stressing about health will keep Kenyan mums (46%) awake at night while in Nigeria, relationship worries (51%) rank much higher.
Less time is spent stressing over their own level of education and weight, although few women manage to side-step these worry-beads entirely. It was positive to see that friendships, often a key support for mums in today’s society, was the issue in their lives that was least likely to cause any worry.
So how does a mother try reduce her anxiety regarding her children?
Insuring our children
Buying various financial products can bring a certain peace-of-mind, and education savings (owned by 62%) are first on the list for most parents (particularly in Nigeria where 74% have a policy of this type). Close behind is medical insurance at 56% – again Kenya proving to be particularly conscious of health issues at 67% ownership. Mums are even more likely to have investments for their children’s future than retirement policies for themselves – except in SA where retirement policies edge ahead. Interestingly, funeral cover was extremely rare in Nigeria (4%) and Kenya (4%), yet 51% of South African mums had taken care of this eventuality.
Juggling the Costs
Other than insurance and financial products, parents face many expenses as they raise their children. Our African Mums were asked to rank typical categories of spend on childcare from highest to lowest. For most, Education and Personal Care took the biggest bites out of the budget, followed by Medical and Clothing expenses. Unsurprisingly, Kenyan mums spent more than others on Medical, while Childcare costs were also a greater proportion of their spend than in other countries. Nigerian mums, on the other hand, reported a comparatively high spend on Internet and Mobile, as well as on Holidays. In South Africa, there were no such extremes, just a slightly higher spend on Clothing.
How much does Brand matter?
Brand importance is very high around baby products, as mums seek reassurance that they are giving their babies the best. An exception is baby clothes which stood out as the one area where brand mattered less (30% brand very important, and in SA, only 7%). In Nigeria, unknown brands may face a tough battle, particularly if marketing baby food products, as Nigerian mums are very brand conscious.
Baby Food: Only the best will do
Foreign baby food brands may anticipate lower expectations from African mums – at their peril… While demand for vegetarian options may be relatively low, African mums want natural, fresh, preservative-free food for their babies – oh and hold the sugar, the salt, the colourants and the GM products too, African babies deserve the best and their mums will accept no less.