The internet is playing a major role in the everyday life of mothers in the Emirates, with many regarding it as their lifeline to the outside world, according to the UAE chapter of "Living La Vida Rapida", a global survey by OMD.
The survey also revealed that mothers are increasingly using the internet as both – a parenting and leisure tool.
The study, with the full title of "Living La Vida Rapida: Today's Parents Living a Double Life at Double Time", explored online parents' lifestyle and media preferences globally, as well as how advertisers and marketers can leverage the insights uncovered to communicate with them more effectively.
Managed by Omnicom Media Group's research consultancy Integral at the end of 2008, the UAE survey has not only uncovered the popular daily media usage of mothers but has also managed to gauge intrinsic details of exactly what they are using each media for and length of time. Furthermore, it also unearthed the content that interests them, the online advertising that appeals, their most popular websites, common values and more, generating critical insights for brands wanting to tap into this popular audience group.
The global survey was conducted with more than 7,000 respondents, all parents, in 14 countries around the world, to gain a true insight into the reality of being a parent in today's society, and how that differs from country to country. In the UAE, the survey was conducted with a sample of more than 300 online married females with children (87 per cent Emiratis and 13 per cent Arabs and expatriates) whose primary role was housekeeping (35 per cent employed, 65 per cent housewives or students).
The survey found that today's mothers in the UAE are technically savvy and have strong emotional associations with media such as the internet, mobile phones, TV, radio and print media, commonly using them for communication, leisure and even disciplinary reasons.
The survey also found that 62 per cent of UAE mothers describe themselves as "super-mothers" using these technologies to pack several more hours of work into the one day.
More than 70 per cent of them describe the internet as a lifeline as 82 per cent turn to the internet in their free time, while 87 per cent admit they cannot survive without their mobile phones.
The internet is also an educational tool for both parent and child, with a very high percentage of mothers using it to search for information concerning better healthcare and nutrition for their children or general parenting blogs.
Interestingly, UAE mothers use the email and internet only a fraction less than their US counterparts, with 74 per cent as opposed to 85 per cent in the US using email or instant messaging. The difference is more pronounced with looking for news online, 46 per cent against 72 per cent in the US.
Overall, the global survey found that the average online mother has become a master multi-tasker, conducting a combined 27 hours of activities in a single day – including work, family, surfing the Internet, chores, eating, shopping and so on. These mothers reported spending eight hours a day using media, including 2.6 hours on the internet, 2.1 hours watching television, 1.2 hours listening to the radio and half-an-hour each day spent with newspapers, magazines and games.
"This study has put a microscope on today's parent and since no two cultures are the same, it was important to have results from a UAE perspective", said Shadi Kandil, General Manager of OMD Dubai. "The results have been very interesting, sometimes surprising and particularly useful, as they ultimately allow us to maximise an advertiser's impact on this key target group".