Is Dad a Savvier Shopper than Mom?

Discussion
Jun 18, 2012
Tom Ryan

While recent studies show dads having more influence on grocery shopping, a new one found that they’re also demonstrating a lot more forethought and preparation than moms.

The 2012 Cone Communications’ Year of the Dad Trend Tracker found that dads are nearly three times as likely as moms to get a lot of input from other members in their household (34 percent vs. 12 percent). Dads also show a higher propensity for performing background research on grocery products versus moms (24 percent versus 11 percent) and planning meals for the week ahead of time (52 percent versus 46 percent).

On the other hand, moms are busier coupon cutters, with 62 percent collecting coupons or reading circulars versus 56 percent for dads. Also, 62 percent of moms create a detailed shopping list, slightly above the 56 percent for dads.

The survey lent more support for the dad-goes-shopping trend. Thirty-five percent of moms admit dads have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years while 52 percent of dads now say they are the primary grocery shopper in the household.

Other findings around dad’s grocery shopping habits:

  • After price and quality, dads’ number one purchase influence is a coupon (37 percent), ahead of product benefits (20 percent) or brand name (14 percent).
  • Dads’ top three 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). Word of mouth from friends and family rated only 38 percent.
  • Thirty-eight percent of dads say they walk up and down each aisle to look at all their options or comparison shop.

Still, purchase influences and information sources were said to be similar between genders. Moms were slightly more swayed by coupons (44 percent) and also more influenced by in-store promotions (69 percent) and traditional media (49 percent).

"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," said Bill Fleishman, president of Cone Communications, in a statement. "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 results came from an online survey conducted May 15 to 21 by ORC International among a sample of 1,000 adult parents who currently have children 17 years old or younger.

Discussion Questions: Considering some of the behavioral differences that men bring to shopping, such as visiting every aisle, are there adjustments that stores can make to build bigger market baskets with this consumer segment without hurting sales made by women?

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11 Comments on "Is Dad a Savvier Shopper than Mom?"


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Verlin Youd
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

As a male and the primary grocery shopper in our family, I believe there are adjustments that stores can make to help sales to men without hurting sales to women. In fact these same changes may help women too. Grocery stores could profit from finding ways to help shoppers plan menus while shopping, providing product positioning, pricing, and promotion that helps time-starved shoppers build good meals.

Mark Heckman
Guest
7 years 8 months ago
It’s difficult to comment about gender driven shopping behaviors without being anecdotal. To that end, my wife is the pre-planning coupon queen, while I am more driven by in-store signs and circulars. That aside, the likely reason that more men are doing the grocery shopping is due to the lack of steady employment and with that as context, male shoppers will be motivated to seek out savings, just as their coupon-driven spouses are. If male shoppers are going down the aisles more so than the ladies, it is probably due in some part to their lack of familiarity with products and categories. They are viewing new territory that their female counterparts have long since explored. If that is the case, digital signage calling attention to deals, and cross merchandising deal items with full margin items in the aisle should be a productive way to add a few items to the male shopper’s basket. All in all, as men shoppers are tasked with the role as primary grocery shopper, they will eventually become just as smart… Read more »
John Karolefski
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

I agree with Mark Heckman that more males are the primary grocery shoppers nowadays because a lot of males are unemployed or underemployed. These relatively new male grocery shoppers would be influenced by effective in-store promotions, signage, etc., because they have not been exposed to a lot of it before.

The survey found that more than half (52%) of primary household grocery shoppers are males today. I just don’t believe that. I’m in grocery stores all the time and see who is shopping. Half of those on a weekly stock up trip are not males. It makes me wonder about the other survey results.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
7 years 8 months ago
First, my family is something of an outlier to this study. My husband does do the grocery shopping, but I plan the list, and that is a recent change in our household. I hate coupons and don’t cut them. He pretty much buys whatever brand we’ve always bought in the past — there’s no real research being done on anything, even price. And I certainly don’t provide a detailed list. He is responsible for the menu for the week, but he doesn’t plan any meals ahead of time — in fact, since we’ve made that adjustment in our lives, he is making more trips to the grocery store than I ever did, to pick up that one ingredient that he didn’t realize he’d need until he decided what he is going to make for dinner tonight. However, he is very susceptible to in-store enticements. I would say that what tempts him is anything that pitches a “new technology” angle: this cleaner has a new ingredient that cleans better and is better for the environment. This… Read more »
Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
7 years 8 months ago

From one male customer’s perspective and one familiar with all the aisles, stores might remove those BS signs that say the “talk” but “don’t walk the walk” such as “Great Savings,” “A New Low Price,” “Today’s Big Savings Special,” “BOGO — a 50% savings” and so on. The truth within such messages is translucent more than transparent. Okay, that doesn’t encourage bigger market baskets. Therefore, stores can leave up the “wowie” signs for the ladies and additionally focus on those things that are still male-oriented.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

I tend to disagree with the article’s premise that, “we can actually use the same strategies to reach the primary grocery shopper in the household, whether it’s mom or dad.” Most dads who are primary shoppers have different “triggers” that cause purchase decisions, versus traditional moms whom are the primary shoppers. I think there needs to be some updated consumer research on those drivers. More than what is in this survey.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

I’m not sure I agree that the traits mentioned “demonstrat(e) a lot more forethought and preparation.” It sounds more like they don’t know what they’re doing.

Anyway, I think the question is really, are there things stores can do to help infrequent customers without harming sales to regulars?

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
7 years 8 months ago
I’m always happy to see new research on male shoppers. While no single finding jumps out, it’s Cone’s overarching conclusion that I feel is most significant, i.e., dad shoppers put a lot of forethought and preparation into grocery shopping. And while I wonder whether some of that may be due to lack of grocery shopping experience, it’s a finding that’s still significant for two reasons. First, it indicates a continuation of the shopping behaviors adopted during the recession. Specifically, during the recession we saw a more savvy and cost-conscious consumer putting more thought and preparation into their grocery shopping before actually crossing the store’s threshold. Cone’s conclusion indicates that behavior is ongoing and continuing to harden. Second, Cone’s overall conclusion represents additional opportunity to reach dad shoppers (and moms too) in new ways. For instance, the workplace represents a virtually untapped opportunity to engage this consumer prior to the store shopping experience and to entice them to purchase specific brands. Retailers and CPGers could, for instance, work with the HR departments of large companies with… Read more »
Matt Schmitt
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Menu planning (Men like lists) and meal solutions to help men shop smarter and faster are “killer apps” for grocery. Speaking from experience, getting meal ideas and bundles of meal items located together and prominently would result in better satisfaction in the shopping experience, and can be a real competitive differentiator.

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Ideas from a Dad Shopper Level III (level represents low-price location skills). Retailers could consider continuing to group similar items or related items. In the coffee aisle put in a refrigerator unit and offer a broad range of coffee creamer selections in with the coffee. Many have done this grouping with things like food genres — taco dinner? Most things needed are in the same aisle.

The more you can group common items the more likely someone is to try their basic product with something new. At least this shopper is….

Tom

John McIndoe
Guest
7 years 8 months ago
Though a majority of primary grocery shoppers are women, there is little question that there are more male shoppers in the aisles today than there were even a few years ago. And, while the “stereotypical” male shopper walks aimlessly around the store making purchases on a whim, the real male shopper is quite different. In fact, male shoppers share many behavioral characteristics with their female counterparts: they make lists, they select channel based heavily on price, and they clip coupons. For CPG marketers seeking to capitalize on opportunity within the male segment, however, there are distinct differences that must be understood, as well. For instance, about half of shoppers, men and women alike, feel their financial situation will remain unchanged in the coming year. But, men are more optimistic about their position today versus last year, and their purchase behaviors are reflecting this optimism. For instance, men are less likely to give up their favorite brands in order to save money, and they are purchasing more “non-essential” items. That said, men are shopping smartly, and… Read more »
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