Stores rejoice as dads take their kids shopping

Discussion
Sep 16, 2015
Tom Ryan

A survey exploring dads’ impulses wound up exploring, more significantly, how kids drive impulse purchases.

The research conducted with 1,500 dads found that, when shopping alone, they tend to impulsively buy items such as ice cream, chips, jerky, beer or a tool they need. They might also splurge on bigger electronics such as a gaming system or a TV. When shopping with their kids, however, they’re more likely to opt for toys, DVDs, clothes and video games, according to the survey sponsor iModerate.

Overall, while price was the top underlying reason behind dads’ spur-of-the-moment purchases, rewarding their children or entire families to compensate them for good behavior, accomplishments or avoiding a meltdown were also seen as significant factors.

Digging deeper to learn how dads feel when they spontaneously buy something for their kids, iModerate found 71 percent said their kids made them feel "amazing," particularly after buying them an inexpensive item, a nostalgic toy or something they could experience with their child and create a shared memory. Another 19 percent said the act makes them feel "appreciated" for providing for their children.

Dads and kids shopping

Photo: Walmart

"Impulse buys for children are complex emotionally — much more so than fulfilling a craving with a bag of chips," said Julia Eisenberg, iModerate SVP, in a statement. "While these don’t need to be large purchases, they have a big impact on dad and his relationship to his children, which presents another opportunity for product marketers."

Overall, iModerate offered three tips for brands and retailers to capitalize on dads’ impulse-buying habits around kids:

  • Help dad imagine his kids’ reactions;
  • Make him feel appreciated — the coolest/best dad on the planet;
  • Quell fears about spoiling kids with unanticipated purchases.

 

What special attributes do you see in the act of buying for children that are unlike other impulse purchases? What would you do with the insights from the iModerate research if you were operating a retail store that attracts dads and their children?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Nothing worse than being with or around a kid who is screaming at the top of their lungs because they want something a parent has told him or her they can’t have. I tend to blame the parents, which is not right, but I could easily see how bribery would be the first recourse."
"Also, need a kid to do certain chores? Buy them something and they will do it. CHORE DAY promo. Do your chores and we hit the stores. This promo works — I used it on all three of my boys."

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12 Comments on "Stores rejoice as dads take their kids shopping"


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Paula Rosenblum
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I didn’t have this answer choice in the poll, but it’s definitely “scream avoidance.”

Nothing worse than being with or around a kid who is screaming at the top of their lungs because they want something a parent has told him or her they can’t have. I tend to blame the parents, which is not right, but I could easily see how bribery would be the first recourse.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Could it be as simple as that it is better to give than receive? When you add the emotional boost from pleasing your child it is a hard combination to beat.

However, like most things, it is better when done in moderation. The surprise and delight the child expresses when receiving a surprise gift will become an expectation if overdone. This also removes the joy of giving for the dad.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Shopping is an experiential and emotional process which takes time. Any time that dad can spend with his children is profound and valuable. If dad and children are spending quality time together and having fun they’ll stay in your retail environment longer. The longer they stay happy in your environment the more likely they are to make purchases.

Home Depot conducts Saturday morning events for parents and their children to build a project. Other retailers could create experiential events that allow parents and their children to spend time together.

J. Kent Smith
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Interestingly, two aspects that didn’t come out surprised me: to help the child grow and learn, and to spend time together.

Tom Redd
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Buying on impulse for kids helps fill the gap between kids and dads — the gap that work, travel and other things create. As a retailer, I would spin up Dad Day promos — specials on gear that dads buy and promos on kids stuff.

If a dad saves $10 on new drill bits, they will justify that spend for stuff the kids really do not need. Also, need a kid to do certain chores? Buy them something and they will do it. CHORE DAY promo. Do your chores and we hit the stores. This promo works — I used it on all three of my boys.

Brian Kelly
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I did some research on the definition of “fun” in shopping. There were many responses and those depended upon the shopping trip aka shopper modality. Dads giving moms a break are different than those who own shopping for the family.

So there is a high degree of difference between the behaviors, and of course, this is no different than women. Ever shop an American Girl store? The primary difference is that in most families, women own shopping and far fewer men do. However for those who own shopping, the insights apply regardless of gender. So I think this goes back to shopper modality and not gender.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Dads are more distracted and think of themselves as bigger kids. Making their kids happy goes directly to making themselves happy. Seeing themselves in the masculine role of major bread-earner (whether they are or not), they think they can make up the financial difference if they buy a treat for the kids. Locating the tool department near the toy and sports departments is in order.

Matt Talbot
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

From my own experience, I know the joy my child exhibits when receiving an unexpected toy on a shopping trip with me. I think this feeling is probably gender neutral though as they would experience the same pleasure if my wife was shopping with them and bought them something.
That being said, retailers should promote specific parent/child BOGO offers on certain SKUs. By advertising a BOGO offer that is valid for a combination of one item from the toy department and another from say the tools aisle, retailers can enhance the likelihood of impulse purchases like these.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

No surprises here: Merchandize, Merchandize, Merchandize! Retailers can, and are taking advantage of this great, family opportunity. Some good examples exist in different formats, like grocery, DIY and others.

Lee Kent
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Let me share my first response to this information, Duh. What child is not going to jump up and down, tell dad he is the bestest dad ever, when given an unexpected gift? Does this make it a marketing opportunity? No!

That aside, there is a real question here and I don’t think it has anything to do with the iModerate research. If you are a retailer that attracts dads and children, how would you reach out to both markets at the same time?

Dads want to spend time with their kids. Offer on-site experiences that they both can participate in and enjoy. I love the Home Depot workshop concept and I am sure there are many more experiences just like it that would appeal.

For my 2 cents.

Dave Wendland
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

The most important question from this study is “so what?” Unless there is a compelling way that a manufacturer—or retailer—can encourage dads to shop more often with their kids, I’m not sure there is an insight that is actionable. Sure, in-store displays and messaging can reinforce this phenomenon, but honestly with or without that, kids will still influence their dad’s purchase behavior. A more compelling outcome may be to encourage men to pick something up for their kids when they’re buying chips, beer, and electronics for themselves … that would be an excellent insight to act on!

Giacinta Shidler
Guest
Giacinta Shidler
3 years 8 months ago

This is interesting…I just read in another place today about a father lamenting his dilemma taking his 4 year old daughter clothes shopping. He was concerned about the propriety of going into the fitting room with her. I think stores have a lot of opportunity in considering and planning for scenarios such as this.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Nothing worse than being with or around a kid who is screaming at the top of their lungs because they want something a parent has told him or her they can’t have. I tend to blame the parents, which is not right, but I could easily see how bribery would be the first recourse."
"Also, need a kid to do certain chores? Buy them something and they will do it. CHORE DAY promo. Do your chores and we hit the stores. This promo works — I used it on all three of my boys."

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