Are Dads The New Mom?

When it comes to household purchasing decisions, dads are not as involved these days as some think

Oct 24, 2013, 07:30 ET from Child's Play Communications

NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Who wears the pants in the family when it comes to household purchasing decisions – mom or dad?

According to a September 2013 survey by Child's Play Communications, titled Are Dads the New Black, mom remains by far the No. 1 decision maker when buying for home and family. Dads are making inroads, but not to the degree many now assume. And mom's evaluation of dad's contribution often differs dramatically from his own. Child's Play Communications president, Stephanie Azzarone, announced the results of the study today at M2Moms, the Marketing to Moms Conference in Chicago.

Child's Play Communications specializes in connecting companies with moms and dads through public relations, social media, content development, word-of-mouth and online marketing. The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013.

Conducted with The NPD group, an independent market research company, the Child's Play survey queried nearly 2500 moms and dads – approximately 1250 couples – across the U.S., asking for each one's view of dad's decision-making role in 20 different product categories. The survey looked at where dads were "entirely" responsible for a product category, then "primarily" responsible and lastly, where they "shared responsibility equally" with their spouses.

"Based on our immersion in the world of moms, it seemed that some of the claims about dad's involvement in household purchasing decisions were overstated," said Azzarone. "Our goal in launching the survey was to separate perception from reality."

Some highlights:

  • Moms remain the major household purchasing decision maker in about 80% of families.
  • Moms are responsible for the majority of those decisions--about two thirds. This is notable because it contrasts with the long-held belief that moms are responsible for about 80% of household purchasing decisions—an indication that dads are getting more involved.
  • Dads continue to dominate decision making in what might be considered traditionally "male" categories. 55.3% of moms and 62.2% of dads said that dad was entirely responsible for buying decisions related to Home Repair and 50% of moms and 57.0% of dads said dad had sole responsibility for Lawn & Garden. Meanwhile, roughly a third or more said dads handle all decision making for Automobiles (38.4% of moms, 48.6% of dads) and Technology (31.8% of moms, 35.1% of dads). The percentages remained similar when families were asked what dads were "primarily" vs. "entirely" responsible for.
  • Moms, however, dominated purchasing decisions for children's products. In fact, dad's role here was noticeably minimal. Moms said that only 1.1% of dads were entirely responsible for buying children's toys and clothes and dads were in close agreement, claiming sole responsibility for 2.2% of toy purchases and 1.2% of children's clothes.
  • The balance improved when families were asked where they shared responsibility equally. The four categories that ranked significantly higher than others among both moms and dads were Home Furnishings (51.0% of moms and 46.0% of dads said decision making here was shared equally), Family Travel (51.0% and 46.6%), Family Entertainment (43.2% and 43.1%) and Appliances (41.4% and 36.2%).                     

"Dads are becoming the "new 'new' thing" in marketing to parents," said Azzarone. "Our study clearly shows where dads are key decision makers today and where they still play minor roles, so that brands can make wise choices when allocating their marketing dollars."

Child's Play Communications

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2013, Child's Play Communications is the leading agency specializing in public relations, social media, content development, word-of-mouth communications and online marketing for products and services targeted to parents. Clients have included brand leaders such as Disney, Warner Bros., Heinz, Hewlett Packard, Wildlife Conservation Society, Hasbro, Reading Rainbow and Parents magazine. Based in New York City, the award-winning agency offers an exciting array of proprietary services to engage this influential market through traditional media, online and in-person, including Team Mom™ and Digital Dads, the company's network of bloggers. For additional information, please visit our Web site, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Pinterest.

SOURCE Child's Play Communications