Dads, Detergent and You

While moms, without question, remain the major decision makers when it comes to household purchases, dads are becoming more involved in the process than in the past.

A 2010 Yahoo survey of 2,400 U.S. men ages 18 to 64 found that more than half identified themselves as their household’s primary grocery shopper. According to these dads:

  • One-third clean and cook
  • 83% bring up brands in conversations with friends
  • Two in three chat about brands on social sites.

2011 research by Ipsos among 2,800 moms and dads found that dads are the major players when it comes to entertainment. The research showed that they:

  • Spend 50% more time than moms with their kids online
  • Are 50% more likely than moms to take the kids to a movie
  • Are also more likely to take the kids to theater, sporting events or concerts

Although I come from a household where it’s dad who does most of the grocery shopping (and is the far better cook), I find some of these stats hard to credit: How dads perceive their involvement and how the women in their lives view it has historically shown a very wide gap. Far more evidence is needed before I’m convinced dads are really talking about detergent brands on social networking sites.  A recent New England Consulting Group survey of 200 men and women indicated that 70% of consumer-package-goods volume is still purchased by women.

While the numbers may be off, there is no denying that dads are in fact more involved these days in purchasing. The reasons are largely two-fold: The poor economy of recent years stranded some dads at home, where – especially if their wives are working – they are naturally assuming more day-to-day responsibilities, including shopping. The other factor is that this generation of dads is just naturally more involved in their kids’ lives – and therefore has more of a role in buying products and services for their youngsters. (An article in this Sunday’s New York Times highlighted another indicator of involvement: More men are not only joining their local school PTAs, but in many of the top-rated public schools across New York City, running them.)

Moms, when it comes to purchasing everyday household goods, who wears the pants in your family these days?

Marketers, have you shifted your focus to include dads in your outreach?