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Holiday Shopping: Dads May Rack Up More Jingle Bills Than You Think

‘Tis the holiday season, and marketers everywhere are working hard to get the attention of gift givers—especially moms.

The assumption that Mom leads holiday shopping for the household is a good one. According to our research, women have more people on their shopping lists than men do. They shop for parents, kids, spouse, friends, teachers, extended family, pets – even hairdressers and others who help keep life on track.1

But when it comes to the green, Dad may be leading the charge. Increasingly, male heads of the household are more inclined to make fewer purchases for bigger dollars. This year’s back to school season played that out, when dads spent roughly $150 more on back to school expenses than moms.2

We expect the phenomenon to continue during the holidays. Our research found men reporting fewer people on their shopping lists, but a larger budget for those gifts. On average, men said they expected to spend $100 more than their female counterparts did by season’s end.

What’s it all mean? Seems like our guys may not spread the love over as many people, but when they buy, they make a statement. So, while it’s important to capture Mom, the Family Gatekeeper, this holiday, we might also want to focus a bit on Dad. It may be harder to get his attention, but when you do, it’s worth your while.

Chris Lierman is GMR’s Senior Director of Consumer Insights and resident go-to for all things consumer—trends, mindset, motivations. Chris works closely with our research, creative, and client management groups to build holistic, strategic solutions that satisfy our clients’ business needs—both for long term branding and short-term challenges.

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