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CPG Brands: Who Makes Household Decisions in Families?

When it comes to CPG brands, determining the likely marketing audience should be listed at the top of any marketing plan. Find out who decides what to buy.

As one of the first steps to develop a marketing plan, a CPG marketing agency will conduct audience research. Obviously, they need to learn as much as they can about the behavior and demographics of consumers who they might attract to their products.

If these products appeal to couples of families, the business should determine which member of the household typically makes buying decisions about CPG products. That way, they will know how to effectively target the other steps in their marketing campaign.

What CPG marketing agency research reveals about household decision makers for CPG brands

Of course, consumer packaged goods come from multiple industries. They can range from pet food to coffee to stockings. Few household members make 100 percent of the decisions about which products or brands to buy. Still, it’s no surprise to see a study on Chain Store Age that found women, typically mothers, make most of the buying choices in average, two-parent families.

Some interesting results from this study found:

  • In a typical, traditional family, Mom usually chooses what to buy. Though fathers have recently grown more involved in household purchase decisions, mothers still make most of these choices in 80 percent of families.
  • Still, men have grown more involved in the CPG-shopping process lately. Lately, moms make about two-thirds of the household decisions, compared to about 80 percent in the past.

Of course, men tend to make certain kinds of decisions for some CPG products more than women do. For instance, in most traditional families, expect more men than women to buy goods for lawn maintenance and home repair. They’re also slightly more likely to choose items related to autos and tech than they are for more general products.

Women made almost always made choices about children’s clothes or toys. In some areas, men and women tend to share buying decisions equally. These include products related to entertainment, furnishings, and appliances.

Who buys the groceries?

While consumer packaged goods can cover a lot of different areas, people often associate them with items found at the grocery store. Some obvious examples include peanut butter, soap, and coffee. At least in traditional families, Pew Research found that women do at least 80 percent of both the cooking and the shopping.

That’s true if a couple has children or not. Couples have started sharing more household chores than they did in the past. At the same time, women usually buy and prepare food most of the time. Pew Research also mentioned that women tend to spend less time doing paid jobs than men do, so that may account for some of the imbalance when it comes to grocery trips and food preparation.

Who should a consumer package goods agency target?

Of course, it’s impossible to offer a one-size-fit-all answer for all kinds of CPG products. Also, even in cases where one gender or another tended to make some kinds of choices more often, they did not always make them and also probably made some purchases because of influence of the other partner.

After all, if a husband expresses a preference for a certain brand of salad dressing or pickles, his wife will probably remember that on her next trip to the supermarket. Similarly, if children ask for a certain kind of socks or a new video game, that request may eventually lead to an adult purchase decision.

Even 10 years ago, AdAge promoted the idea that CPG companies should target men more. Even if surveys show that women tend to make two-thirds of household decisions, that still leaves one-third of purchase choices to men. AdAge also pointed out that even though women still do most of the shopping, men do more of it than they used to do. Even a smaller share of a market could add up to a growth opportunity for some CPG companies.

Why do marketers need to know who tends to choose their types of product?

Marketers need to define their audience before they can make good choices about a number of other factors in their marketing plan. These can range from the platforms used for marketing to the color of the product packaging.

Consider these examples:

  • Crazy Egg revealed that women like blue, purple, and green the most, but they tend not to prefer gray, orange, and brown as much. In contrast, men also like blue and green, but they also tend to gravitate to black. Men also tend to dislike orange and brown, but they shy away from purple.
  • Men and women both use social sites, still they may tend to favor different kinds of platforms. For instance, expect to find more women on sites like Pinterest and Facebook and more men on more discussion-oriented sites like Reddit.

No consumer package goods agency can generalize about exactly which gender or member of the family makes all the household decisions about CPG brands. This can also vary quite a bit for different types of products, and not all families have the traditional mom, dad, and kids. Still, determining their most likely customers will make plenty of other marketing decisions easier for CPG brands.

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