Originally posted at SheSpeaks

The recent Yahoo study suggesting that Dads rule the grocery shopping cart is causing a stir in the marketing community with article headlines like “Time to Rethink Your Message: Now the Cart Belongs to Daddy.”

The study shows that out of 2,400 US men (ages 18-64), 51% of them report they are the primary grocery shoppers in their households.  For Dads in particular, that number is slightly higher as 6 in 10 call themselves the primary decision makers on purchases of packaged goods, health, pet and clothing purchases.

We need to take this information with a grain of salt because, in my view, they asked the wrong people.  Instead of Dads, they should be asking the Moms the questions about who has the primary grocery shopping role. Dads, recently a bit jealous of the attention Marketers are paying to Moms and not to them, are making inflated claims about their decision making power and influence on household purchases… sorry Dad. Many a Mom will jump in and make it clear that although more Dads are doing the shopping, it is the Moms who are making the list… at least in the majority of cases.

Ask the Moms, and I expect you will see a drastic difference from the numbers reported in the Yahoo study… with Moms reporting they are the primary grocery purchasers and decision makers.  Especially with the recession, Dads are now expected to be more involved with the family and taking their share of household responsibilities, and I think their answers to this study are influenced by this societal (and family) pressure for involvement as well.

A better way, then, to get a more accurate reflection of the actual grocery shopping roles of Dads and Moms would be to ask both Moms and Dads the same questions, then weight the findings to the Moms’ answers. Women continue to hold the online shopping purse strings and to tap into their online social networks and communities for purchasing advice, and I don’t think we can so easily discount their grocery buying power and responsibility.

We do still need to pay attention to the needs of those Dads who ARE doing the grocery shopping, but make sure to ask your Mom consumers who they think controls the shopping cart before you make your marketing decisions!

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