Millennial dads are confident and willing to spend

Brands that can win over young dads this Father’s Day will find that they are optimistic about the economy, making them more receptive to brands’ advances, and happier to recommend them to others, meaning word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool

On Sunday (21 June), dads across the UK will celebrate Fathers’ Day with their children and partners. But while parenthood can sometimes make people feel as if they have to give up their old life, that is not the case for millennial dads, particularly in the older half of the age group, according to new research by IPG Mediabrands agency Initiative.

The study finds that millennial fathers aged 25 to 34 are more optimistic about the economy and more ambitious than men without children. That makes them a market that could be highly receptive to positive messages and open to discretionary spending.

Indeed, 67% of millennial dads are confident about their personal economic situation compared with 59% of non-dads and 58% of mums, while 45% feel positive about the state of the economy alongside 40% of men without children and 35% of mothers.

“Millennials have been most adversely affected [of any age group] by the impact of globalisation and the double dip recession, so to see this [confidence] come through in lots
of different markets is really positive and should inform how advertisers speak to young dads in the future,” says Hanna Chalmers, international research director at Initiative.

The research is based on the views of more than 5,000 young dads aged 25 to 34 across 19 markets including the UK, and is taken from two wider studies into all millennials aged 16 to 34.

Economic stability is a priority for these dads and many are achieving it, with 89% suggesting they are financially independent compared to 78% of men without children, and twice as many dads (39%) own a property compared to non-dads (18%).

Encouragingly for marketers, millennial dads also become more receptive to brands’ advances after becoming fathers, according to the study. Nearly half of millennial dads (45%) say brands play an important role in their life compared with 39% of non-dads and 38% of mums.

Although a third of millennial dads are cynical about the way brands reach out to them, half enjoy the different ways brands choose to communicate with them. They are also more likely  than millennial mums to research products and seek advice, either through reading news sources such as magazines and newspapers or consulting independent experts.

Perhaps most encouragingly of all for brands that can win this group over, millennial dads are very willing to recommend brands to others, outnumbering those dads who would not do so by two to one. Harnessing word of mouth among dads could therefore be a powerful way of amplifying their willingness to spend still further. Two thirds also say they would join an online brand community, compared with only around half of non-dads.

The research indicates that brands with purpose are more highly regarded by millennial dads.

Chalmers says: “Brands with a social purpose become more popular for millennial dads because they start thinking about the world around them more and become less individualistic.”

This is backed up by figures from the study showing that 62% believe businesses have the potential to be a force for good and 58% say it would increase their loyalty if a company could demonstrate its positive influence, again far exceeding the number of non-dads who agree with this sentiment.

But the group do not define themselves just as fathers, and neither do they believe their life stops when they become a parent, as 40% of millennial dads want to travel around the world compared with 34% of men without children, and 49% hope to set up their own business within the next two years, compared to 44% of non-dads.

Millennial dads are more likely to try new things than both non-dads and mums. They are also tech-savvy and are more inclined to be the first to get new technology. More than half
(54%) use their smartphone to get the best price for products compared with 48% of men who do not have children.

“Millennials are going to become the largest group of parents in the relatively near future, so there are clear implications for advertisers,” says Chalmers.

“As more millennials become parents we will see this shift occur even more broadly across wider society, so it’s really important for marketers to understand the changes now [in order for them to] start communicating, engaging and connecting with this audience in the right way.”