If food marketers just heard a crash in Aisle 3, it may be the gender tipping point: A new survey from Cone Communications reports that 52% of fathers now identify themselves as the primary grocery store shopper. And while it isn’t particularly unusual that dads say they are doing more, the big news is that moms are acknowledging the change, as well. Some 35% of the moms in the sample agree that over the past few year, dad has taken on more shopping.
“For marketers, the big news here is that these fathers are taking their role as shoppers very seriously, and there’s an earnestness about this,” Bill Fleishman, president of Cone Communications, tells Marketing Daily. “They aren’t just shopping more, they are spending more time talking with mothers and other family members about what to buy. They’re very open, and that’s exciting.”
In fact, he says, “this image of Dad as some right-brained being running in and out of the store, completely distracted by point-of-sale displays, is really outdated. Instead of there being a 'She’ marketing plan and a 'He’ marketing plan, there needs to be a 'They’ plan. This research shows us that families are now viewing grocery shopping and spending as a shared responsibility.” Dads who are primarily responsible for grocery shopping are more than twice as likely as moms to get a lot of input from other members in their household (34% vs. 12%).
In fact, the study, which included 1,000 parents of kids 17 and under, found that while dads were a little more time-pressured when shopping, they were also somewhat less distracted then women. And more than half of dads collect coupons. While dads are slightly less likely to make a detailed shopping list (63% vs. 65% of moms), collect coupons or read circulars (56% vs. 62%), they are more likely to plan meals for the week ahead of time (52% vs. 46%). And they are significantly more inclined to do background research on grocery products (24% vs. 11% of moms).
Another surprise for marketers is that the dads are traditionalists, at least in terms of media. Their top three channels for gathering information are in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40%). These even outrank word of mouth from friends and family (38%). Still, 44% use online sources.