Shopper Snapshot: Millennial Dads

Millennial moms have been written about fairly exhaustively. Where they shop, how they shop, when they shop, who they shop for, who they shop with, how much they buy and how to persuade them to buy more are all hot topics.

(The answers to those questions are, in order: on Amazon, in bed, while they wait for something to happen, everyone in the family, by themselves if they can possibly help it, more than they want and promise them 15 minutes of quiet.)

And the focus makes a good deal of sense. Millennials, that precious group of consumers aged 18-34, are no longer merely a trendy demographic. They are at this point probably the biggest one. According to data from the Pew Research Center, they've recently surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation.  And moms are typically our nation's shoppers. They tend to buy the bulk of the groceries, clothing and "toys" for themselves and their families, plus they do most of the gift shopping. That's right, according to science, if the holiday wasn't Mother's Day, rest assured that someone's mom probably bought the present for it.

Given that it is apparently the lot of mothers everywhere to shop, we know a lot about how moms shop. We know they usually have a smartphone on them — and that they use it to research the best deal possible always. We know they like Pinterest, and embedding buyable pins pushes conversions. We also know they are on Facebook a lot, but that getting them to shop while they are sharing pictures of their children has proved to be an incredibly tough nut to crack.

But for all the time wondering about mom, very few have wondered what the world of the millennial dad shopper is — mostly because men stereotypically don't like to shop.

Which is why the results of a recent study from Mintel are so surprising, and make one wonder if we have perhaps been missing out on a group that might just be a distinct and important part of the retail picture going forward.

Millennial dads could be the future of retail.

Because while men in general don't like to shop, young dads love nothing more than shopping with their children. Given the choice, Mintel's data indicates they would rather be buying their kids things than themselves.

"Millennial dads view shopping with their kids as a way to bond and teach them valuable lessons," the report said.

BI_Graphics_Millenial dads chart_02Unfortunately, retailers probably aren't cashing in on this opportunity, since Mintel also points out that almost no retailer extends the effort toward dad recruitment that they put toward getting young moms on board.

Which is increasingly looking like a lost opportunity. Millennials as a generation are currently dropping about $170 billion per year into the economy and are projected to spend $200 billion annually starting in 2017. Over the course of the generation's lifetime, millennials are projected to spend about $10 trillion, according to a study by Exponential.

There have, however, been small efforts built around attracting the young dad with kid in tow. Portland-based Seahorses builds classes and Wi-Fi access into the store design to attract male shoppers.

But by and large, when it comes to attracting the spend of parents, it's mostly a mom's world out there. But perhaps as more millennial men are becoming dads as well, that trend might change.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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