From family sacrifices to constant mobility to long separations, much about the military lifestyle remains well-known. Yet little information has emerged regarding military families from a consumer perspective – including how they make purchasing decisions or what impacts their retail preferences.
Mom Central Consulting and MilitaryOneClick have released a joint research study of more than 400 military family members that offers an insider’s view into what most influences their consumer purchasing choices. Research respondents included spouses of active duty and retired personnel, as well as Moms of military service members, with near equal representation from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S Air Force. Findings also proved consistent overall regardless of length of military service.
These findings shed new light on shopping behaviors, retail preferences, travel habits, and big-ticket purchasing decisions of military spouses and Moms – and revealed an array of insights on what motivates this demographic when making consumer choices.
“As a military spouse for more than 16 years, I know these research results offer a unique window into the military consumer,” said Jennifer Pilcher, Founder/CEO of MilitaryOneClick and one of the nation’s leading voices on military families. “The study provides valuable insight for brands looking to reach service families and offers new perspective into issues ranging from the role military discounts play to the importance of family travel.”
“The research unveils real texture and insight into the world of military families,” said Stacy DeBroff, CEO of Mom Central Consulting. “We’ve long known that Moms direct their families’ purchasing decisions, but we’ve now gained new perspective into this powerful American consumer group – learning what resonates with military families and what most influences their consumer choices and brand affinities.”
The research study’s top-line findings include the following:
Military Families Focus on Value, Brand Offerings
More than 90% of families base their shopping decisions on whether or not a business offers a military discount, and nearly 70% of families said they would travel upwards of 15 miles to shop at a store that offered a military discount of between 10% and 20+%.
In order for military families to take advantage of special pricing for service personnel, brands need to fully communicate their discounted offerings. Military families, too, can look to build strong relationships and ongoing engagement with brands as a way to find out about current and upcoming consumer offerings for service members.
Leading Retailers Figure High on Shopping Radar
While many military families shop for groceries from on-base military commissaries, nearly 80% will travel off base to shop at leading retail stores when making other purchases for their families.
For 79% of these families, they’ll bring along coupons when shopping, with 68% of military families using both online and print coupons.
Family, Destination Trips Top Military Families’ Travel Agenda
Military families typically spend their lives far from close relatives, and over 55% look to visit family one to two times each year. These families also seek relaxation and rejuvenation through destination vacations to resorts or amusement parks, and nearly 60% head out for vacation time one to two times per year.
Even with the importance of family travel, value factors in significantly as more than 80% of military families seek out vacation destinations offering a military price break, and nearly 90% of families opt to stay at hotels offering similar discounts. Moreover, half of all military families will plan their travel based on the availability of discounted pricing for service members.
A Preference for Purchase – for Both Cars & Homes
When in the market for both homes and cars, military families strongly prefer to purchase, with 95% of families choosing to purchase vehicles rather than lease. In fact, more than one-quarter of military families look to purchase a vehicle in the next year and their top choices include SUVs, trucks, or four-door sedans. However, they remain evenly divided when it comes to buying a new or used car.
These same families also extend their quest for consumer value to car purchases, as 81% of families prefer to purchase a car from manufacturers that offer a military discount.
Similarly, 65% of military families own their own home, compared to 35% who rent. Just 12% of military families own multiple properties. Many family members surveyed do not currently live in military housing – just 16% now live on-base – and only slightly more at 18% would prefer to live on a military facility.
A Rising Consumer Demographic
This joint research marks the first collaboration between Mom Central Consulting and MilitaryOneClick – as the two organizations have established a partnership to connect brands to Military Moms. “We teamed up with MilitaryOneClick as a way to further illuminate the emerging power of the military consumer,” said DeBroff. “We’re excited to have a strong group of military influencers eager to engage with brands in social media campaigns.”
Pilcher agreed. “This research sends a strong message that this demographic – even across all branches of service and length of military affiliation – comes with very specific spending habits and shopping behaviors. It speaks volumes about the military consumer and what motivates their purchasing decisions.”
About the Survey
In March 2014, Mom Central Consulting surveyed over 400 Moms and Women for their insights into the consumer habits of military families. The 60+-question survey was conducted online, programmed, and analyzed by Mom Central Consulting. All respondents belonged to the Mom Central Consulting Testing Panel, consisting of 20,000 American Moms spanning across relevant demographics, as well as the MilitaryOneClick community.
About Military One Click
MilitaryOneClick (www.militaryoneclick.com), founded and led by Jennifer Pilcher, one of the nation’s foremost experts on military families, is a premier online resource for active duty military, reservists, veterans, and their families. A military marketing consultant, Pilcher and MilitaryOneClick work with clients that include Amazon, MetLife, GM, La Quinta Inns & Suites, and Sprint.
About Mom Central Consulting
Mom Central Consulting (www.momcentralconsulting.com), the leading social media consulting firm focused on the Mom Market, partners with over 350 national brands annually to develop powerful influencer marketing programs targeted to Moms in specialized areas ranging from the Military to Millennials to Empty-Nesters. With offices in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Toronto, Canada, Mom Central Consulting delivers cutting-edge social media and digital campaigns – engaging influencers as passionate brand advocates – to achieve focused marketing results. Our robust Mom Central Testing Panel garners real-world insights throughout the Mom Marketplace, which informs our ROI-driven campaigns. For the past three years, Inc. magazine has named Mom Central Consulting to its annual Inc. 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.