03 June 2014

mother and child in supermarketMost mums and dads know the stress of pester power from their kids when shopping at the supermarket, but research shows Australian parents are doing a better job of saying ‘no’ than their counterparts abroad.

Research from the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science shows Australian parents give in to pester power 26 per cent of the time when traversing the food aisles with their trolleys – and little tackers in tow.

By comparison, the most recent research from the United States shows kids are given 97 per cent of the things they ask for in store, while in Austria, it’s a 52 per cent pester power success rate.

Ehrenberg-Bass Institute Senior Research Associate Bill Page is studying pester power as part of his PhD, which is investigating the interaction between parents and children in supermarkets and the influence children have on their parents’ supermarket visits.

Page recently finished collecting Australian data over 12 days in four large supermarkets across Adelaide and Sydney. More than 1800 hours of data was collected recording how parents and children interacted during grocery shopping trips. He then compared his data to the latest research in other countries around the world.

“Kids’ pestering can be quite stressful or even embarrassing for parents, who may be on a tight budget and are trying to get in and out of the supermarket quickly,” Page says.

“What we found though is that Australian parents give in a lot less than we expected.

“Certainly Aussie parents’ levels of giving in are not anywhere near the levels seen in other countries.”

As well as Australian parents being better at saying no, Page’s research showed Aussie kids also ask for less in the supermarket than kids in other countries.

In the US, kids ask for something for the trolley once every one minute and 15 seconds on average, but in Australia, it’s one request every three minutes.

But according to Page, even though kids’ requests aren’t as high, Australian parents argue with their children just as often as in the US – on average one ‘conflict’ per seven minutes 42 seconds in the supermarket in both countries.

“Just over half the shoppers we studied didn’t have any conflict at all with their children, but a few were constantly battling,” Page says.

“Overall, though, it seems as though kids in our supermarkets are comparatively well behaved.”

Contact for interview: Bill Page office 8302 0716 mobile 0402 727 442

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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