Parenthood Divides the Genders and Brands Need to Bridge the “Fear Gap”


Parenthood Divides the Genders and Brands Need to Bridge the “Fear Gap”

The first round of our Facing Fear research series into the roots of consumer anxiety in the US was just released, and some of the most interesting findings illustrate a gap between genders. That’s not new, but we found that it widens significantly when we look at parenthood: Moms consistently express more fear and anxiety over the state of the world than women in general, and fathers express less than men in general. These discrepancies are grounded, for the most part, in views on world safety, financial security, and trust. Alter Agents CEO Rebecca Brooks discusses this dynamic in her latest article for Forbes, titled “Mothers Have Higher Fear And Anxiety Than Fathers: What Does It Mean For Brands?

Our data held some significant insights. Rebecca wrote: “While a large number of fathers feel that safety levels are low (66%), mothers are much more concerned (80%). From a financial standpoint, mothers (72%) feel as if the current financial system is stacked against them, a view that outshadows the fathers’ fears by nearly 20%.” This is overlaid by a large gap between mothers and fathers when it comes to shopping behavior, something that brands should track closely. “A whopping 70% of women found shopping for large purchases stressful, versus only 51% of men. More men than women also feel that they are financially better off than they were before.” 

She maintains that there are some basic things that brands can do in order to combat these trends, including: 

  • Providing moms with the information they need, when they need it, and make it extremely easy for them to consume. They are stressed and don’t have a lot of extra time to dig around.
  • Proving value with real peer reviews by nurturing the “audience of mothers”, making it easy for customers to leave feedback in multiple places and on various platforms that work best for them.
  • Guaranteeing purchases in order to mitigate risk, taking the “pressure off of the shopping mom.” A warranty or other protection can boost confidence and “directly assuage their fear which is driving much of their behavior.”


She concludes the piece with this personal statement: “Did all of this catch your attention as a parent? It’s disturbing, to be sure. As a mother myself, these findings are sobering. As much as I adore being a mom, and love my kids, there is a burden attached – sometimes a silent one – that we must start to acknowledge more openly as a society. When it comes to the role that brands play in this environment, empathy with the challenges that mothers are facing, alongside efforts that contribute to boosting confidence, can make a large impact in assuaging fear and anxiety.” 


Our Facing Fear Research Series

Drawing on world-class analysis from researchers at Alter Agents and commentary by thought leaders in economics, political science, and psychology, this reporting series is a must-read to understand the consumer mindset entering the second year of the pandemic.

Facing Fear: Understanding Anxious Consumers
Facing Fear: Consumer Anxiety in 2020
Facing Fear: Overcoming Consumer Anxiety

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