Study: US fathers' role in household purchases "overstated"

Claims about dads having greater involvement in household purchase decisions in the US are "overstated," according to a new study by Child's Play Communications.

Claims about dads having greater involvement in household purchase decisions in the US are “overstated,” according to a new study by Child's Play Communications.

The study, entitled Are Dads the New Black? and conducted by market research company NPD Group, surveyed about 1,250 parent couples across the US. It asked both moms and dads to identify which one in their household makes the entire or primary purchasing decisions for a range of product categories or whether they share these purchase decisions equally.  

According to the study, moms remain the major purchase decision-maker in 80% of families. While the study signified that dads are becoming more involved, only 3% of them make the entire purchase decisions in a household.

Moms, however, dominated purchasing decisions for children's products. The moms surveyed said that only 1.1% of dads were entirely responsible for buying children's toys and clothes. The fathers surveyed were in close agreement, with 2.2% claiming to have sole responsibility for toy purchases and 1.2% for children's clothes.

However, dads are gaining ground in making purchase decisions in areas that are considered “more male,” such as DIY and gardening. Meanwhile, women continue to dominate purchases in food, baby care, and drugstore products.

Further research indicated that 55.3% of moms and 62.2% of dads said the father was entirely responsible for buying decisions related to the home repair, while 50% of moms and 57% of dads said the father had sole responsibility for lawn and garden.

“This is a real indicator for manufacturers of food and children's products that they need to keep their focus on moms, as dads clearly are not the key market for them,” said Stephanie Azzarone, president of Child's Play Communications.  

She added that the general understanding that Gen X Dads are more involved in parenting means there is a logical assumption they have therefore become more involved in purchase decisions. While the numbers are shifting, Azzarone noted, the amount of men making household purchase decisions is still minor.

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