Divorce and Data Gathering

Posted on in Divorce

Most people wouldn't imagine that a retailer could tell if you were recently divorced by your shopping habits. However, a recent exposé by the New York Times discussed how Target has an initiative in place to determine when customers are experiencing life cycle events. Such life cycle events include marriage, child birth and yes, divorce.

The aim of the initiative is to tailor advertising to customers at these various stages of life. By focusing on major life events, retailers are more likely to impact brand loyalty and change consumer shopping patterns.

For instance, if a retailer thinks a customer is pregnant they could send ads for specific brands of diapers, baby clothes and toys. If customers act on those ads they may remain loyal to those brands throughout their child's life.

How do buying patterns shift after divorce? Interestingly, it increases the chance that individuals will select a different brand of beer. Perhaps more predictably, research also indicates that right after divorce consumers may suddenly purchase frozen food, linens, furniture and low fat foods.

The purchases of furniture and household goods may be used for furnishing a new home. Single individuals may also be more concerned about body image leading to healthier food choices. Finally, frozen meals may be popular among individuals not used to cooking while they were married, and hesitant to prepare a meal for one.

For those concerned about privacy, keep in mind that only the retailers you patronize frequently have enough data to draw any real conclusions, and they are hesitant to share it since it may be key to retaining your loyalty.

Source: Divorce Meets Big Data, Richard Komaiko, 3 March 2012

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