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A Mother’s Day gesture that’ll get you in her good books!

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

With Mother’s Day approaching, many Australians are planning how to spoil their Mum this year. While classics like breakfast in bed or a bunch of flowers never go out of style, here’s a novel idea: why not give her a break from the grocery shopping? The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that a far greater proportion of Australian women than men usually buy their household’s groceries — and mothers are the most likely of all to do so.

Before looking at specific living arrangements, however, here’s a top-line figure for the sake of perspective: 62% of Australians 14+ who usually do the grocery shopping are women and 38% are men. Already, the gender imbalance is quite striking. 

But it becomes a whole lot more apparent among households with kids in them. No less than 91% of Australian women who live with their partner and at least one child usually buy the groceries; a figure that drops to just 44% of men living in the same household arrangement.

Even in single parent households, single mums (97%) are more likely than single dads (85%) to buy the groceries. (Which begs the question: if 85% of single fathers usually buy the groceries, who is buying groceries for the remaining 15%?)

Usual grocery-buyers by living arrangement: women vs men


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Among couples with no children in their household, the proportion of women who usually buy the groceries (90%) is also much higher than men (53%), although the difference is not as great as in nuclear families.

In fact, the only household situation in which men and women are equally as likely to usually do the grocery shopping is when they live alone (99% each).

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Despite men accounting for half the population, they still don’t account for half of ‘usual’ grocery-buyers. However, the proportion of men who say they usually buy the groceries has grown slightly since 2010, when the overall male:female ratio was 35:65.

“Among different kinds of household living arrangements, women are almost always more likely than men to be the ‘usual’ grocery-buyer, a gender skew that is strongest in traditional nuclear family units.

“Of course, just because someone usually does the grocery-shopping, doesn’t necessarily mean they do it alone. Among Aussies who live with their partner and kids, 19% of women and 32% of men share grocery duties; while 27% of women and 43% of men who live with their partner in childless households do the same. The fact remains, though, that women – and mothers especially -- shoulder most of the grocery-buying responsibility.

“Gender equality may have come a long way over the last 50 years, but it clearly has a way to go. The stereotype of mothers being responsible for running the family household appears to be alive and well, at least where grocery-shopping is concerned. This Mother’s Day, why not make a truly thoughtful gesture, and give Mum a break from the grocery grind for a week or two? Who knows: it might even lead to a whole new domestic routine…”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%