As dads take a larger role in child-rearing, they are shopping more — and spending more — than moms.
That’s the gist of a study on the buying habits of the modern North American dad, whose share of the household shopping responsibility has increased markedly, displacing their more frugal spouses in the retail ecosystem.
“Good dads are great for business,” said Kasi Bruno, strategic planning director at Y&R and the study’s author. “They’re really more involved than they ever have been with the kids and all the purchasing power that comes with it.”
The “Who’s Your Daddy” study asked more than 8,000 North American dads about everything from comparison shopping to finding deals, revealing that most are not bargain hunters and gatherers.
Key findings include a willingness by dads to pay more for trusted brands, and little interest in sale prices. Nearly half of dads surveyed proclaimed loyalty to brand-name products versus about one third of moms, the study said.
So it’s Cheerios over generic toasted oats, regardless of the savings. Other favored dad brands include Apple, UnderArmour, Lexus and Lego, according to the “Who’s Your Daddy?” study.
“I buy mostly name brand,” said one dad in the survey. “I buy almost no generic stuff.”
Discounts don’t mean nearly as much to dads as moms. A third of dads say they try to buy products on sale, versus 52 percent of moms. Nearly 60 percent of dads eschew coupons completely, saying it makes them look “cheap.” Meanwhile, the majority of moms take pride in getting “great value” for their money, while less than half of men are likely to brag to their buddies about a great deal, the study showed.
“Discounts are such a point of pride for mom,” Bruno said. “For dad, it’s the opposite — deals are an insult to his vanity a little bit.”
Not surprisingly, dads spent an average of $250 more on back-to-school shopping than moms last year, the report said. One of the biggest shifts in shopping is in the grocery aisle, where 80 percent of millennial dads claim primary or shared shopping responsibility. Millennial dads have a more hands-on parenting role overall, with nearly half responsible for planning play dates and other outside activities with their kids. Less than one in four older dads are in charge of such activities.
“Dads represent a massive untapped market for all sorts of household products and consumer packaged goods — from diapers to college dorm supplies — and they are largely overlooked by most brands,” said Sandy Thompson, global planning director at Y&R. “Just as more moms are continuing to embrace the duality of work and kids, dads, too, are playing a bigger role at home, helping with everything from grocery shopping to cooking to play dates.”
While men are more involved in caregiving, disparities persist. A separate study also released this week said women continue to spend 2-10 times longer than men caring for a child. One reason is a lack of supportive paternity leave policies, which discourages fathers from being more hands-on with their children. The study, published by MenCare, a global fatherhood campaign, showed women in the U.S. spend 2.7 more hours per day than men on unpaid care work. In Mexico, the gap widens to 4.5 hours.
“When fathers take on their fair share of the unpaid care work, it can alter the nature of the relationships between men and women and children, as both fathers and mothers will have more time for their children, women are released from some of their ‘double burden,’ and fathers get to experience the joys, satisfactions and stresses of caring for their children,” said Nikki van der Gaag, one of the authors of the MenCare report. “Taking up roles as caregivers also offers men the opportunity to begin to break free from the narrow concepts of manhood and fatherhood, providing their sons and daughters with positive role models, improved health and development, and higher hopes for the future.”
One other byproduct of the domesticated dad is an increased prioritization of their own sexuality and appearance, according to the Y&R report. Dads ranked sexuality as their sixth most important value, whereas it didn’t make the top 10 for men without children. Perhaps something to keep in mind when shopping for Father’s Day.