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Moms? mobile-first attitudes to health an unmet need: report

While 19 percent of moms already have a fitness tracker, up 36 percent from 2013, and 80 percent are interested in a device, the majority find the current options for tracking their families' health and fitness on their smartphones too time consuming, according to a new report from BabyCenter.

The BabyCenter U.S. Mobile Mom 2014 Report: Health & Fitness Go Mobile for Moms report found that 55 percent of moms cannot think of a reason not to track their health or their children?s health. The findings suggest that moms have a growing appetite for health and fitness tracking that is not  yet met by the mobile applications that are currently available. 

?Moms want to embrace mobile health trackers and wearables for themselves and their children, but those that are out in the marketplace right now simply don't meet their needs,? said Julie Michaelson, vice president of sales at BabyCenter. ?There is a gap in what's available and what moms really want, presenting a great opportunity - especially for marketers that want to get into this arena.

?The takeaway here is that if you're creating a new product - whether a mobile app or a high-tech watch or bracelet - it is imperative that you're mindful that moms lives are incredibly busy,? she said. ?Simplicity and ease-of-use are vital. 

?Moms definitely want to take full advantage of the benefits that mobile technology can offer when it come to their family's health, and if you can be the one to be truly helpful to them, it can be a great win for a marketer.?

Helpful insight
The survey asked moms the question: ?Which of the following do you currently track and which would you track on your smartphone if there was an easy way to transfer the information to your phone.? 

The results reveal a significant gap in every category. In activity and fitness, 31 percent currently track and 45 percent would track if it were easier. In weight, the gap is 30 percent versus 45 percent, in nutrition 23 percent versus 45 percent, in sleep patterns 8 percent versus 32 percent, in child development 30 percent versus 40 percent, in child?s nutrition 10 percent versus 27 percent and in child?s activity 12 percent versus 26 percent. 

BabyCenter also found that moms are willing to invest in new devices that give insight into their health and that of their children. 

Of the moms surveyed, 19 percent already had a fitness tracker, up 36 percent from 2013, and 80 percent indicated interest in a device. 

Other key findings include that 70 percent are somewhat or very interested in wearable baby monitors that track a baby?s movements and issue a warning if something is wrong, 67 percent are interested in an activity tracker for their child, 64 percent a fitness tracker integrated into clothing and 46 percent Google Glass. 

Over-the-counter medications
The report also found that moms are already relying on their smartphones to shop for over-the-counter medications, including using the mobile Web for physical retail purchases. 

The findings include that 14 percent of moms use their phone when shopping for over-the-counter medicines and, of these, 63 percent researched an over-the-counter medicine on their phone while 52 percent said read product reviews and recommendations. 

Additionally, 29 percent purchased over-the-counter medicinal products online, and 37 percent used their device to find a local drugstore or similar retail outlet. 

Less popular are price comparison apps, with 25 percent having used them to buy these products while 30 percent have used mobile coupons. 

Mobile-first lives
The report is based on a survey of 1,118 U.S. women ages 18 to 49 who were either pregnant of mothers of children up to 18 years old. The survey was conducted in July 2014. 

?Moms are not always seen as ?early adopters? when it comes to technology, but our research continues to show that moms are leading ?mobile first? lives in many ways,? Ms. Michaelson said. 

?I was personally surprised to see the high level of interest in Google Glass, for example,? she said. 

?What holds adoption back - perhaps even more than price point - is ease of use. Moms are tech-savvy, but they want trackers that automatically upload and synch information across devices, etc.?

Final Take?
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York