NEW YORK—Mothers have long made the majority of the buying decisions for their households. They currently hold 85 percent of purchasing power for their families… and it’s a lot of power. Parents currently spend $1 trillion each year on their offspring, not including college costs, and that figure is slated to grow in the coming years.

Now let’s take into account that the average Millennial, those born between 1980 and 2000, is 25 years old and the average age of a first-time mother is almost 26. That means nearly all new mothers — about 90 percent — are Millennial Moms.

Millennial Moms are thoughtful consumers, engaged customers, health-conscious like perhaps no generation before, and increasingly, parents who are making decisions and purchases that affect their entire family. Not to mention, they are connected like no other generation of mothers before them.

On average, Millennial Moms have 3.4 social media accounts, versus the 2.6 for moms in general. Millennials increase their smartphone usage by 63 percent after becoming moms, and they spend 35 percent more time on their mobile device than on their PC or laptop. Those numbers will keep growing in 2016. Some 81 percent of Millennial Moms researched or purchased items via their phones while shopping in-store this year. And one in four moms do more than half of their shopping online.

Moms traditionally have also handled the bulk of their families’ health care needs as well. In this area, Millennial Moms are not that different… but they are more insured. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance coverage during their young adult years than past generations.

Since September 2010, young adults have generally been eligible to remain on a parent’s health insurance policy until they turn 26. Previously, they frequently lost access when they turned 19 or graduated from college. From the time the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage provision took effect in 2010 through the first quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate among individuals ages 19 to 25 fell by 13.2 percentage points, a 40 percent decline. Analysts predict that coverage will only continue to expand in the years ahead.

With a U.S. population of roughly 9 million and counting, it’s clear the future influence of Millennial Moms on health care and buying decisions can only grow.

Norwalk Eye Care: ‘One Millennial Mom OD’s Perspective’

We reached back out to Jennifer Stewart Ellison, OD, who appeared in the “Millennial ECPs IRL” story in the June 15, 2015 issue of Vision Monday. Ellison is in private practice at Norwalk Eye Care in Norwalk, Conn. The mother of a young son, a competitive triathlete and runner, and a resident of community she practices in, she shared with us how being a Millennial Mom OD has influenced the (more efficient!) running of her practice without sacrificing the personal touch.

When it comes to Millennial Moms the first word that comes to mind is ‘busy.’ We try to streamline everything in our office to make it easier for busy parents (and people) to visit us. We use SolutionReach to confirm appointments, which has had very positive patient feedback. Patients get an email and text message the day before their appointment to confirm. We no longer have to play phone tag and leave messages. We also send out reminders when patients are due via email and have found an uptick in patients scheduling this way. A lot of new patients like the option of requesting an appointment online. For many, the first time they walk through our door is the first time they are actually speaking to someone.

Small things also help. We email all paperwork needed beforehand, so when a patient arrives at the office, we can immediately begin their exam. Families bringing multiple children in like having all of this done ahead of time, so they’re in and out of the office quicker. We also pre-adjust frames for kids so parents can pick them up anytime and direct ship most contact lens orders.

We try to be accommodating to families; if a mother or father is bringing their child(ren) in for an exam and they themselves are overdue, I will often squeeze them in and do their exam at the same time. We have had a number of parents thank us as it is often easier to get it done while they are there and not have to come back. This builds patient satisfaction and loyalty, and also increases optical sales and revenue, without taking up valuable staff time.

I also let all parents know that I can treat all of the eye problems their families may deal with. We offer same day emergency appointments and are happy to see our patients for conjunctivitis, trauma injuries, swollen lids, allergies, etc. Many are not aware that we can treat these problems and are happier to come see us to treat their children.

Also, when verifying patient insurance information, our staff will also take notice of who else may be covered on a vision plan, and offer to book appointments for those family members as well. This quickly fills empty appointment slots, and helps busy parents schedule appointments for everyone.

I have found that Millennial parents are much more informed, ask many questions, and really weigh different decisions to determine what is best for their families. I’ll often give a follow up call or send an email to a parent to make sure their questions were all answered, and see if there is anything else I can help with. This personal touch has been very important in our practice, and supports the type of patient experience we pride ourselves on providing.

Jennifer Stewart Ellison, OD


“Digital Women Influencers: Millennial Moms,” Weber Shandwick, June 2013

“15 Economic Facts About Millennials,” The Council of Economic Advisers, October 2014

“BabyCenter 21st Century Mom Insight Series: 2015 State of Modern Motherhood Report,” co-sponsored by IAB, February 2015

“Millennial Moms,” Goldman Sachs, May 2015

Norwalk Eye Care: ‘One Millennial Mom OD’s Perspective’