A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jun 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day: Dad's Are Doing More of the Grocery Shopping in Most American Homes

The image of dad as a clueless layabout when it comes to domestic chores is as outdated as the image of mom at home in an apron baking cookies.

Turns out a majority of dads surveyed report they are the primary grocery shopper in their family - and they are pretty good at it (accompanying photo notwithstanding) . They plan meals in advance, create detailed shopping lists and do their research beforehand. This is significant news to the grocery industry, whose revenues were approximately $47 billion on an annualized basis as of last month (this industry tracks its data!).

Dads are apparently more efficient than moms at getting in and out of the store with what they want in a timely fashion. They also tend to rely primarily on traditional sources of information when making their purchase decisions: in-store promotions and traditional media like newspapers. This is both a threat and an opportunity for digital media marketing. The challenge is for the grocery industry to figure how to effectively market to dads using a broader, better coordinated and more targeted array of platforms and channels.

The greater implication is that this is yet another confirmation that societal roles are changing. Opportunity abounds for those clever enough to apply these data to assist in their marketing and operational planning. Businesses will either keep up with these trends or suffer the consequences. JL

Grocery Headquarters.com reports (Hat tip Dan Pink):
More than one-in-three (35%) moms admit dads have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years. And, with 52 percent of dads now saying they are the primary grocery shopper in the household, the power of dad is hitting its stride, according to the 2012 Cone Communications Year of the Dad Trend Tracker.
Top shopper is a role typically thought to belong to mom, but as more dads are poised to take on the grocery store, they’re demonstrating a lot of forethought and preparation. Dads 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%).

They also do their homework before setting foot in the store. Before heading to the supermarket, dads say they:

•Create a detailed shopping list – 63% (vs. 65% of moms)
•Collect coupons or read circulars – 56% (vs. 62% of moms)
•Plan meals for the week ahead of time – 52% (vs. 46% of moms)
•Perform background research on grocery products – 24% (vs. 11% of moms)

“This research goes against all stereotypes of the ‘Father Knows Best’ dad who doesn’t concern himself with domestic responsibilities,” says Bill Fleishman, president of Cone Communications. “Marketers need to recognize the growing number of dads in the supermarket aisles who are taking their roles seriously and can benefit from brands who provide tools and shortcuts to make shopping easier.”

The In-store Experience
All the prep work dads put in before heading to the grocery store is paying off. When asked about their typical grocery shopping experience, nearly one-third (32%) of dads say they get in and out as fast as possible buying only what they came for, compared to just 21 percent of moms. Dads are also less likely than moms (26% vs. 30%) to say they get distracted by large in-store displays.

But there are still a considerable number of dads who are just as thoughtful in-store as they are beforehand. Thirty-eight percent of dads say they walk up and down each aisle to look at all their options or comparison shop. And while nearly one-in-five (19%) dads say they can finish their shopping in fewer than 30 minutes, the majority (58%) spend up to an hour in the store.

Marketing to Dads
For brands to reach dads, it’s important to leverage tried-and-true marketing strategies like advertising and media relations. Dads’ top three channels for gathering product- and other grocery-related information are: in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40%). Surprisingly, traditional channels such as these even outrank word of mouth from friends and family (38%). But, as effective as traditional approaches are, marketers shouldn’t ignore online media either. When looking at all online channels together, it turns out more than two-in-five (44%) dads seek out online sources – online media (18%), product websites (15%), social networks (11%) – for information.

“Historically, when brands of any kind market to dads, the conversation has been very one-way,” says Cone Communications Vice President Byron Calamese. “But now dads are saying, ‘You can reach me in other ways.’ Marketers need to surround dads with an integrated approach to storytelling – one that is ownable, talkable and shareable for the brand.”

When making purchasing decisions on the spot in-store, coupons play an important role in tipping the scales in favor of one product versus another. After price and quality, dads say the number one purchase influence is a coupon (37%), stronger even than product benefits (20%) or brand name (14%). Moms are no different when it comes to purchase influences and information sources. They too are heavily swayed by coupons (44%) and are especially attuned to in-store promotions (69%) and traditional media (49%).

“Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring,” says Fleishman. “Roles may be shifting within the household, but we’re finding that dads are not acting so differently from moms in their approach to grocery shopping. This is good news for marketers because it means we don’t have to rewrite the playbook. By understanding the nuances between them, we can actually use the same strategies to reach the primary grocery shopper in the household, whether it’s mom or dad.”


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