The rise of the Mumpreneur
My wife is currently on maternity leave, and in between dealing with the plethora of activities that a young child demands, she’s unintentionally become a ‘mumpreneur’.
What on earth is a ‘mumpreneur’ I hear you ask? Well, when you have a young child, they tend to grow out of their clothes very quickly. And rather than continually buying new clothes, she’s joined other like-minded mums in using the Facebook Marketplace to buy and sell ‘nearly-new’ clothing. From what I’ve been able to gather, it’s quite a network that exists locally to where I live in South East London. Two or three times a week, a new parcel arrives or is packed up to be sent elsewhere with the latest trove.
So, why am I telling you this? Well, observing this and trying to relate it to the day job, I was struck by how this behaviour is just another example of the consumer savviness that has manifested itself since the financial crash of 2008 (think of the growth of discounters). Mums have utilised the technology made available to them (in this case Facebook Marketplace), and found a way of monetising an asset that in the past would have ended up in a big black bag being passed from one unsuspecting mother to the next, each dreading what stains the bag held. Instead, mums are now finding what they want for their babies at a cheaper than new price and making a bit of money on the side. If they’re getting as good at this as my wife seems to be, they’ll also be finding that the overall effect is at least cost neutral as their children grow through the sizes and clothes are sold on, and if they’re lucky, sold on at a profit.
And this behaviour hasn’t gone unnoticed by third parties. In recent years, a number of apps have been developed for the sole purpose of selling on clothing (e.g. Vinted, ThredUp) and of course eBay has a large community of people selling second hand clothes. In fact, the first of these (Vinted) is currently on TV targeting the very same mums who are using Facebook Marketplace already.
It was always hypothesised that the ‘new savvy shopper’ that emerged after the financial crash in 2008 would be here to stay and it seems that they are. Consumers are harnessing technology to actively take control of their shopping behaviour, seek out the best bargains, and even make some money for themselves on the side. There is a consistent theme of consumer empowerment. I wonder what the mums of the UK will come up with next?
Research Director (Retail)