Survey: When it comes to grocery shopping, dad's role evolves

BOSTON — Dads are taking on a new role: primary grocery shopper.

According to Cone Communications' "2012 Year of the Dad Trend Tracker," more than half of fathers surveyed said they are the primary grocery shopper in the household (52%) and 1-in-3 moms said their partners have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years (35%). Before heading out to stores, Cone Communciations said that dads surveyed also exhibited the following behaviors:

  • Sixty-three percent of dads said they create a detailed shopping list (versus 65% of moms);

  • More than half of dads surveyed said they collect coupons or read circulars (56%), versus 62% of moms. After price and quality, respondents also noted that the No. 1 purchase influence is a coupon (37%), rather than product benefits (20%) or brand name (14%);

  • Fifty-two percent of dads plan meals for the week, compared with 46% of moms; and

  • Almost one-quarter of dads (24%) perform background research on grocery products, compared with 11% of moms.

"This research goes against all stereotypes of the 'Father Knows Best' dad who doesn't concern himself with domestic responsibilities," Cone Communications president Bill Fleishman said. "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."

When it comes to how they shop, most fathers surveyed said they turn to in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and such traditional media as newspapers, magazines and television (40%) when making purchasing decisions. When looking at all online channels together, however, it turns out more than 2-in-5 dads (44%) seek out online sources — online media (18%), product websites (15%) and social networks (11%) — for information.

"Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring," Fleishman said. "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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