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May 13, 2009

We Minivan Moms Can Be Pretty High-Tech

090512-01-Ford-sync-concept-sm I am a high-tech Mom and here's the proof: I purchased my first CD burner in 1997 and used it to create holiday music mixes I gave to friends at Christmas.  I was one of the first people I knew to sign up for broadband internet in 1998. I opted for a DVD drive in my 1999 Blue Apple PowerMac G3, and used it to watch movies on my beautiful GIANT egg-shaped 21-inch Apple Studio Display. I joined Twitter 526 days before Oprah and joined Facebook before any of my peers.

According to an article posted recently at AutoPacific,  a marketing research company based in Tustin, California, research shows moms lead the way in using high-tech conveniences, explaining that current stereotypes would have us expect that today's moms -- often drivers of minivans or SUVs -- care more about a Diaper Genie than the latest techno-gadgets.  Time to catch up with today's driving mom: seriously, when my second son arrived in 2002, my Diaper Genie was useful, but I got waaay more entertainment from listening to my 20-gig 3g iPod in my car via RF transmitter. And yes, I installed and maintain my own wifi network in my home.

090512-02-Apple_ipods In fact, today's moms find the convenience and connection the latest technology provides valuable.  Of 11 electronic technologies important to new-car buyers that are measured by AutoPacific, moms have a higher ownership in seven of the categories than the general car-buying population.  These include wireless computer networks, Bluetooth  cell phones, digital video recorders, video game consoles, Blackberries, and MP3 players.  But Apple iPods are where moms are really out front.  In ownership of the popular music and video device, moms lead men and female vehicle owners who are not moms by 12 percentage points. We here at already know that women want to be pampered in their cars with things like heated seats, rear-view camera systems, and hands-free audio and cellphone controls.

090512-03-Jawbone_red "The lesson here is to look at the data before making assumptions," says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. "Clearly, moms are very interested in using the latest technology.  Moms are multi-taskers at the highest level and desire convenient technologies that allow them to safely accomplish their daily routine, while also making sure that the latest Hannah Montana song is available at the push of a button."

 And what do the tech-savvy moms of today drive?  According to AutoPacific data, moms that have a high incidence of technology ownership tend to embrace brands that are known for technology, like Toyota, BMW, Lexus and Honda. The most popular vehicle among tech-savvy Moms? The Honda Odyssey.  (In fact, this is the vehicle my husband bought in 2003 to accommodate our new baby and older son's baseball team carpools. I inherited his Accord and was very thankful for the six-CD changer in the trunk.)

"We also expect that vehicles like the new Ford Flex will also be a solid performer with tech-savvy moms," said Peterson.  "Its SYNC system coupled with navigation, voice activation and spacious interior package make it a natural.  Analysis of 2009 data is underway now and it'll be interesting to see what new trends are developing."

090512-04-Ford_Smart_Gauge_LCD_dashThe LCD "Smart Gauge" dashboard interface of the new Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrids is also a very cool feature sure to please us high-tech moms. Created as a way for drivers to maximize their fuel economy in the new generation of hybrid cars, SmartGauge with "EcoGuide" uses an all-digital, LCD screen instrument cluster that offers one of four data screens to allow the driver choose the information level displayed during their drive. Whimsical animations even display "growing" leaves on a vine to demonstrate good driving habits - so that the more efficient a driver is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines, creating a visual reward for the driver's efforts. A real-time system feedback also allows drivers to assess or modify their driving habits to achieve maximum fuel economy. (Jalopnik has a nice photo gallery demonstrating the many changing displays here.)

So don't underestimate how high-tech we Minivan Moms might be. We might surprise you!

Brandy_schaffels_s By Brandy Schaffels Editor

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