How Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant

Target has perfected the technique of analyzing consumers' shopping habits to figure out who's pregnant.

Every time you buy online (or offline), you share personal details about your consumption patterns.

Target has figured out how to data-mine in order to figure out whether you are pregnant before you need to start buying diapers.


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  1. No one should be surprised by this considering what’s being revealed in Washington these days. It isn’t just the government that can mine data and figure out what’s up with every one of us. The way to avoid it is to stop using social media, shopping on line using cell phones and using credit cards. While that probably won’t happen it’s the way to stop it

  2. "Those people chilled by stores’ tracking and profiling them may want to consider going the way of the common criminal — and paying for far more of their purchases in cash."

    Really, Forbes? Only common criminals pay in cash? This is the second financial bias I’ve seen on this site inside of two articles. One intimated that poor people don’t qualify for bank accounts when I personally have opened accounts with no money and no job, and now this one that implies that only common criminals pay in cash. I’ve been a Target shopper regularly for more than 20 years now and have paid with a credit card there maybe a handful of times, if that. My reasoning is not that I am a common criminal that cannot get a credit card(jeez!), but that I am always tempted to overspend there and cash makes it easier for me to stay within my budget. For a company so invested in reporting financial news, you sure seem to be biased against those who don’t fit your definition of “making it”. Since when does not having a bank account or credit card make you unqualified or a common criminal? My grandparents taught me that if you don’t give your money to the bank, they can’t steal it from you in the form of fees and if you don’t borrow the credit card companies’ money, then you’ll have more to spend instead of having to pay back a lot more than you borrowed to begin. More people need to heed this advice.

  3. This is cool! I wish they would send me coupons for items I buy or need. I think it is a great thing, while others may find it a bit creepy, I think its a great idea, very innovative. The science that goes behind it.

  4. Although creepy, I’d rather save a few bucks, and I’d love to have coupons magically appear just before I need them. :) Honestly, if you have a credit card, car insurance, a cell phone, really, any of the conveniences of modern life, you’re on a marketing list, and you are being targeted. Getting a mailer with coupons I’ll actually use beats the heck out of getting loads of ones I’ll just throw away.

    So, Target, continue focusing your advertising towards me based on my blatantly shared purchasing decisions, so I’ll keep getting coupons for the “All Free and Clear” and Lactaid that I have to buy for my sensitive skin and lactose intolerance, instead of Tide and whole milk. Oh, and drop in one of those lawnmower coupons, I’ll need a new one around springtime.

  5. I don’t see any problem with this? I work 50-70 hours a week. My weekends are full of activity. I only shop for what I need or have an interest in.

    When I want to buy something, I usually spend a reasonable time researching prices, vendors, specials, etc. I began noticing a few years ago that Google was displaying targeted ads, and some of the other sites I visited were putting specials in their emails for products I like.

    I then did an experiment: spend the same time comparing the products in those targeted ads / emails to the result of my typical search, and guess what? Most of the time those offers were right at the best value end of the spectrum. Maybe not the absolute cheapest, but they represented well.

    I’m grateful someone’s computer is crunching numbers somewhere, to save me time and make me aware of products/services I have, and will, spend time looking for.

    In several instances, these targeted ads and specials have been really good value. They have saved me time and money.

    And, if I don’t want my spending habits to be tracked for any reason, it’s easy – I pay cash, anonymously. People over-reacting, saying “OMG I am never going to shop at Target again” are infantile in their stupidity. EVERY business is analysing it’s data to find ways to become a BETTER partner to shop with. Any business that isn’t, does not deserve to be in business. Why would I want the place I shop at not to work to keep my custom? Not to tell me about specials and deals? Not to save me time and money?

  6. This is creepy but expected. Every company does it. Facebook comes in mind. Facebook has almost 1 billion users. They have stated that they need to target their users with relevant advertisement. How do you think FB does it, by guessing. No, they are data mining your comments and your profile.

    Some people say they will not shop at “X” company because of this. People, you will have to stop shopping period. Once again, all companies data mine you when they shop. Even gas stations. Every wonder why the gas pump ask you for your Credit Card zip code?

  7. This makes me think about how most movies where the world is dying in overpopulation and there are laws that prohibit women from having more than 1 child are wrong. They only get caught when there is a police raid and they have to hide their children in the ventilation duct or wear special vest for detection. On the real future they would simply know you broke the law on your googling history.


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