Dads Have More Influence on Grocery Shopping: Survey

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Dads Have More Influence on Grocery Shopping: Survey


With 52 percent of fathers now identifying themselves as the primary grocery shopper in the household, the power of Dad is making its presence known, according to the 2012 Cone Communications Year of the Dad Trend Tracker.

As more dads take on the supermarket, they’re showing plenty of forethought and preparation, Cone  found. Dads mainly responsible for grocery shopping are more than twice as likely as moms to get a lot of input from other household members -- 34 percent versus 12 percent.

They’re also more likely to prepare before going to the store. Dads told the public relations and marketing agency that they create a detailed shopping list (63 percent versus 65 percent of moms), collect coupons or read circulars (56 percent versus 62 percent), plan meals for the week ahead of time (52 percent versus 46 percent), and do background research on grocery products (24 percent versus 11 percent).

“This research goes against all stereotypes of the ‘Father Knows Best’ dad who doesn’t concern himself with domestic responsibilities,” noted Bill Fleishman, president of Boston-based Cone. “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.”

All of the preparatory work dads put in before shopping is paying off. When asked about their typical grocery shopping experience, almost one-third (32 percent) of dads said they get in and out as quickly as possible, buying only what they came for, compared with just 21 percent of moms. Dads are also less likely than moms (26 percent versus 30 percent) to be distracted by large in-store displays.

There are also a significant number of dads who are just as thoughtful in the store as they are beforehand. Thirty-eight percent said they walk through each aisle to look at all their options or comparison shop. And while nearly one in five (19 percent) dads said they can finish their shopping in under 30 minutes, the majority (58 percent) spend as much as an hour in the store.

Brands that want to engage dads should leverage such tried-and-true marketing strategies as advertising and media relations. Dads’ three main channels for gathering product- and other grocery-related information are in-store promotions (57 percent), advertising (50 percent) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40 percent). Unexpectedly, these channels are even more important to dads than word of mouth from friends and family (38 percent). As effective as traditional approaches are, however, marketers shouldn’t forget about online media. When looking at all online channels together, it turns out that more than two in five (44 percent) dads check online sources -- including online media (18 percent), product websites (15 percent) and social networks (11 percent) -- for info.

“Historically, when brands of any kind market to dads, the conversation has been very one-way,” says Cone VP 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, dads often rely on coupons when it comes to choosing one product over another. After price and quality, dads say the No. 1 purchase influence is a coupon (37 percent) – ahead of even product benefits (20 percent) or brand name (14 percent).

“Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring,” adds 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.”

The 2012 Cone Communications Year of the Dad Trend Tracker presents the findings of an online survey conducted May 15-21 by ORC International among a sample of 1,000 adult parents who currently have children 17 years old or younger.