In Supermarkets, Dads Now Top Shoppers

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as some right-brained being running in and out of the store, completely distracted by point-of-sale displays, is really outdated.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.

6 comments about "In Supermarkets, Dads Now Top Shoppers ".
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  1. Jessica Estremera from DIgital Pulp, June 12, 2012 at 4:49 p.m.

    I find the coupons found online are very limited and the best way for a deal is to clip coupons from weekly ads and newspapers as well. Good job Dads!

  2. Amy Gittelman from MaxPoint, June 13, 2012 at 8:22 a.m.

    I live in Manhattan but my husband works in NJ. Thus the reason he is the primary shopper - tremendous savings!

  3. Heather MacLean from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, June 13, 2012 at 8:29 a.m.

    This is a really interesting dynamic. For years, marketers like myself, were working to develop marketing plans to focus on the female influence and decision-making status of the household. This does have a significant impact on that premise and yes, we now need to look at a "They" plan instead.

    Thanks for sharing this research.

  4. Susan Von Seggern from SvS PR, June 13, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.

    Could it also be that there are more male/dad friendly stores? We pretty much split the shopping with me hitting Ralphs (Kroger) with my list, coupons and club card and dear husband hitting Trader Joe's for whatever he thinks we need once he's there. He hates Ralphs but loves TJs.

  5. Robert Wright from iAsk , June 15, 2012 at 5:51 a.m.

    Social pressure may have created a behavioral shift, "men do more shopping", however this is more of a functionary activity for men, as it is women whose influence forms the basis for most of the purchases. In other words, it may be the mans feet on the shop floor, but they are primarily directed by the female brain.

    (Michele Miller is a good source on this topic).

    / Robert

  6. Tony Mariani from Almost Famous Advertising, June 19, 2012 at 7:37 a.m.

    If more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, wouldn't that mean there are more men in grocery stores?

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