Are Millennial Dads the New Quality Consumer?

by Lauren Montague, Administrative Assistant, Published on MediaPost: The Marketing Insider

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Millennials’ spending habits have been researched and discussed extensively. However, as this generation grows older, our research has identified a new trend that has yet touched upon. 

With the oldest Millennials approaching 37 years of age (Pew’s designation), it should come as no surprise that Millennials are becoming parents in large numbers, but what some may find surprising are the spending habits of Millennial parents, particularly Millennial dads. 

As it was for previous generations, money is still an integral driver of Millennial dads’ lives. In the latest Youth Insights Quarterly, we found that 70% of Millennial dads agree that making a lot of money is one of the most important things when planning their careers, higher than Millennial moms and Millennial men without children (58% and 59%, respectively).  

Different from previous generations, however, is the amount of involvement Millennial dads have in their children’s lives: They’re not just a financial provider, they’re spending more hands-on time taking care of their households. Not only are they more involved in raising the kids, they’re more involved in shopping and housework, and the purchasing decisions they make in stores and online have more power than ever.

Dads’ shopping habits differ — quality is key

The data shows that the shopping habits of Millennial dads differ from both Millennial moms and Millennial men without children. We found that Millennial dads are particularly likely to care about quality — placing a great importance on a brand or product having “high quality.” Ninety-one percent of Millennial dads say that high quality is important when it comes to selecting one brand over another. More specifically, 66% of Millennial dads report that high quality is extremely important, in comparison to the 50% of Millennial men without children, 45% of Millennial moms, and 51% of the general population who feel this way.

And because these dads are more involved in household shopping, they are actively choosing to bring home products of higher quality. When deciding between two similar items, Millennial dads are more inclined to buy the item they believe to be of higher quality — rather than picking best deal — establishing new spending patterns to which marketers should pay attention. Brands, too, should understand this propensity towards prioritizing quality if they want to build loyalty among Millennial dads.

Since family-involved Millennial dads’ reach extends beyond themselves as individual consumers, they are now more frequently introducing their family to new products, which provides brands, advertisers, and marketers of quality goods an entree to the modern family.

Dads seek closer brand relationships

The relationship between Millennial dads and shopping habits extends beyond the inclination for quality. The new data reveals that Millennial dads, beyond seeking quality brands, strive to form closer brand relationships than do Millennial men without children. With 80% of Millennial dads liking brands that value their opinion (versus 64% of Millennial men without children), Millennial dads are actively demonstrating the desire to play a more active role in theses relationships. 

Why are Millennial dads taking such an interest in brand connection and in brand quality? Perhaps with their greater involvement in household chores and shopping, they’re focused on educating themselves as to what the “best” choices are for their kids and families. Perhaps the traditional role men used to hold as primary breadwinners is evolving into choosiest bread shoppers. 

In any case, Millennial dads’ emerging brand preferences situate brands in a unique position: If brands can provide the high-quality products and the reciprocal relationship that Millennial dads are seeking, then brands have the opportunity to establish trial — and perhaps even loyalty — not just with their Millennial dad consumers, but with their households.