Like Daughter, Like Mother: The Consumer Doppelganger Effect
What the daughter does, the mother did. ~Jewish Proverb
This old Jewish proverb of unknown origins should likely be amended in light of some newly published research out of Temple University Fox School of Business. This new study reveals that teenage girls, those arbiters of cool consumer culture, hold a very strong influence, not just over one another, but over their own mothers and their consumer habits. These teenage girls passively, but often strongly, influence their mothers in their decisions on what to purchase; everything from makeup to skinny jeans, and mothers have more of a tendency to mimic their daughters’ consumer behavior, rather than vice versa. So, it is more like what the daughter does, the mother will also get around to doing.
“This finding provides initial support for the notion of reverse socialization and suggests that the impact adolescents have on their parents is much more profound than has been credited to them,” Dr. Ayalla A. Ruvio, lead author and an assistant professor of marketing, writes in a forthcoming Journal of Consumer Behavior article. This phenomenon has, along with making a lot of money on mothers who desire to have what their teenage daughters have, brought forth a new term: the consumer doppelganger effect. This is not exactly a pathology to be categorized, but more of a contemporary phenomenon that is likely a product of Gen X parents just not feeling all that old yet, and reflexively looking to their children for markers of style and verve that show a little more fun or dormant sexuality. According to the report, there is no word on whether there is corresponding effect with teenage boys and their fathers, but it would certainly be interesting to see how that was manifested if there were.
Would you say your children influence your consumption behavior (and I am not talking about compelling you to buy crap for them)? Is there anything worth noting about this so-called effect? Is it objectionable, or possibly something that forges a bond between mother and daughter? Have you witnessed such behavior in yourself, friends, or family members?