It’s a Man’s World

Discussion
Mar 30, 2005
Avatar

By David Morse, President & CEO, New American Dimensions, LLC

www.newamericandimensions.com


Comedian Rita Rudner has a line, “When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always.” Rosanne Barr says, “Men can read maps better than women. Because only the male mind could conceive of one inch equaling a hundred miles.”


Let’s face it. We men have been getting bashed for years. But finally we are getting the respect we deserve. A just published study from Packaged Facts, The U.S Men’s Market, is all about men — as consumers.


To quote the executive summary, “Radical changes in the role of women in society over the past four decades inevitably have caused corresponding changes in the position of men in the workplace, their relationship with women, and their involvement in family life.” It goes on to say that as the blurring of traditional gender differences occurs, like more men helping to rear kids and do household chores, the way we market to men should evolve.


Some facts from the report:


  • Men, particularly older men, shop only when they have to. Only a quarter of men, compared to half of women, enjoy shopping when they don’t have something to buy. Similarly, they are much less likely to browse or buy things on the spur of the moment.

  • Men are more likely than women to enjoy shopping with the opposite sex; 27 percent of men compared to only 16 percent of women agreed with that one.

  • Though only 20 percent of men consider themselves to be the primary shopper in their household, they are doing more of their own shopping. In 1985, women were responsible for 60 percent of men’s apparel purchases. In 2003, the number dropped to 30 percent.

  • There were strong regional differences. Men in Los Angeles, for instance, were more likely to be frequent shoppers; along with men from New York and Chicago they were much more likely to care about fashion. Men living in the Southern and Central states were much more likely to express a preference for products made in the U.S.

  • Compared to women, men are much more likely to stick with trusted brands, particularly older men. Conversely, men are less likely to wait until things go on sale, shop for bargains and travel to a factory outlet store.

  • Men have little patience with television commercials, though younger men tend to find them more interesting. Older men tend to hit the mute button while younger men tend to change channels.

Moderator’s Comment: Have men gotten a raw deal at retail? Have retailers failed to recognize that men are changing? Are there retailers that are doing
a good job at reaching men?


When it comes to shopping, I think I am devolving. I hate it more than I ever did. But there is compelling evidence in the report that I am the anomaly.
It cites one study that found that 61 percent of men did grocery shopping in 2004 compared to only 41 percent in 2002. Another study cited found that men between the ages of 40
and 74 were less likely to have negative opinions about grocery shopping than women.


Still, there is room for improvement. For instance, the report concludes that though men are less likely than women to make impulse purchases, the opposite
was true in the realm of grocery stores. The report quoted a Christian Science Monitor article: “Supermarkets don’t think like men. If they did, they would put baskets
in the back of stores to accommodate the needs of men who end up with armloads of items bought on impulse.”


Now we’re talking. I’ve got the ice cream freezer burns on the back of my arm to prove it.


[The entire report, The U.S. Men’s Market, can be purchased directly from Packaged Facts or marketresearch.com.]
David Morse – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

13 Comments on "It’s a Man’s World"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

First of all, I’d say that most retailers have trivialized BOTH genders by making simplistic and often insulting assumptions about how easily people can be led. As to men…tell me the last time you attended a supermarket conference where a speaker referred to the shopper as anything other than “she.”

Mark Burr
Guest
14 years 4 months ago
Think about for a moment the things that many women do today, that their mothers didn’t or didn’t at least until later in life. Think again about the things that men do today they likely never did in their father’s or grandfather’s generation. Yet, marketing to the sexes seems so sexist. Okay, that’s a harsh word. I’ll take a second stab at it. Marketing today seems to take into account traditional roles and stereotypes to sell products in a world where those roles and activities have been blurred for decades, it seems. I don’t think men have gotten a raw deal as much as women have, in some ways. Sure men are doing more, but women? Women’s roles today are dramatically different, yet marketing, from my view, treats them somewhat tritely. Men haven’t gotten a raw deal at all. Women, yes, but definitely not men. The lines are blurred but that’s not been all that positive for women as it likely should be. As men, we likely never will know how good we have it.
John Hennessy
Guest
John Hennessy
14 years 4 months ago
If you’re a supermarket and want to sell more food to men, how about some Garanimals-like meal prep suggestions? Think the, “How to Set Tile” brochures at the hardware stores. I like the sense of accomplishment I get from putting a meal together, and that doesn’t count disrupting a bird from its ride on the in-store ferris wheel. Yet, when I’m stuck cooking for myself or have the urge to contribute a meal, I’m lost. I’d rather drive-thru than open a cookbook. I’m prescribing here but a simple set of single meal ideas on tear sheets sorted by beef, pork, chicken and veggie might do the trick. The sheet would have a short list of ingredients. I don’t mind buying another thing of hot sauce or a jar of minced garlic if I know it will help me create something I will enjoy. But whatever you do, don’t call it a RECIPE. I don’t cook so I certainly don’t do recipes. But I can follow INSTRUCTIONS. Have a guy write it up Mac & Cheese… Read more »
Rupa Ranganathan
Guest
Rupa Ranganathan
14 years 4 months ago
David Morse’s piece today clearly calls for “Male Makeovers” when it comes to segmentation of shoppers. Even as retailers prepare to meet and greet multicultural consumers on their shopping aisles, they should watch out for male shoppers who accounted for 45% of the purchase of male fashion-wear, according to NPD Beauty last year. In 2000, the percentage of males who shopped alone for male fashion-wear was only 26%. Male Skincare and cosmetics brands are working on new product lines and retail marketing strategies to tap into boomer males, metrosexual or otherwise. Customized male skincare lines from dermatologists are slowly but surely getting out there. From Alchieme Forever to Zirh, the health and beauty industry is looking to take over unoccupied slots generally the preserve of women. But, well beyond the vanity basket of product offerings, how does a major retailer of packaged goods brand tap into this significant shopper profile? Ethnographic research, mall-intercepts and creative merchandizing can go a long way in getting this segment to favor your brands of bread, toothpaste, juice, and oh… Read more »
Carol Spieckerman
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

We began encouraging our clients to include more men in juvenile products focus groups a couple of years ago after realizing that men were interested and influential when it came to buying products for their kids (babies in particular). Guys don’t care much about what color something comes in but they care about features, workmanship and usage. Head out to Babies R Us and see how many men are happily participating – not just purse-holding!

Bruce Vierck
Guest
Bruce Vierck
14 years 4 months ago

Gearing merchandising presentations to men or women can be accomplished in gender-specific categories, but it’s not so easy with the majority of product offerings. Nor is it likely the best approach. Much data is available to retailers to understand the profiles of their shoppers and the drivers of their shopping behavior. Some retailers, like Kroger, are using it in their direct mail campaigns to target offerings to different types of shoppers…beyond men vs. women, they are looking at segments like traditional homes vs. those interested in the finer things vs. those focused on nutrition or weight loss, etc. The big win will come when this segmentation is translated to the in-store experience in the form of targeted messages and product/solution presentations.

Franklin Benson
Guest
Franklin Benson
14 years 4 months ago

You’re just not shopping in the right places. You can go to an Ultimate Electronics, or a Circuit City, or Best Buy, or perhaps the complete nerd-vana of Fry’s and it’s wall-to-wall, elbow to elbow men. Also Home Depot seems to be pretty much a man’s store, although Lowe’s defected to the women’s side a few years ago.

I think what we are seeing is nothing more than increasing market segmentation. Eventually, there will be a grocer that meets men’s needs better than the others and it will win out in this niche. There will be bigger players that continue to hold the women’s market.

David Livingston
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

I think men have it better. When I read women’s magazines or see commercials geared towards women, it looks like they are taking women for fools. Salespeople who work for auto dealers, car repair, investment companies, and banks often tell me women are an easy mark. I suppose men are easy marks too with some businesses.

When I go to the store and see a pair of men’s jeans on sale for $15 and then see an almost identical pair for women for about $50, I just thank God I’m a man.

James Tenser
Guest
14 years 4 months ago
Several observations about these revelations on male shopping: 1) More men are buying their own clothes. This may reflect a changing paradigm of household time management – where both members of a couple have to juggle work, home and recreation. Fewer wives today have the time or patience to buy and return wardrobe items bought for their husbands. Also, many men have been gradually asserting their own sense of style – a combination of business casual, sporting lifestyle, marketing messages about personal care, and the phenomenon some people call the “metrosexual” (ugh!). 2) More men are sharing in the grocery shopping. This very likely also reflects the new household time paradigm. Many men are also sharing in the cooking chores – at least on weekends. For some couples, meal preparation is the most social hour of the day. Supermarkets are fairly gender-neutral environments, since they’re usually designed by men anyway. 3) Notice the increase in men’s grooming products at department store counters? Not me. Never shop in such places – they make be queasy. But… Read more »
Warren Thayer
Guest
14 years 4 months ago

I’ve seen changes, in supers trying to emulate C-stores (and, of course, every other format, but I’m talking about C-stores only, this time). The C-store used to be about Joe Six-Pack, and that meant more beer, soft drinks, snack foods, etc., in secondary displays by the front end. I see more of that now. Some of it you can chalk up to meal solutions, but some to chasing the C-store crowd. For their part, of course, C-stores are now chasing the soccer mom. To get to some other points, I love supermarket shopping because it’s my business, and I’m always looking. But I hate clothing shopping, and wear things until they fall apart or until my wife insists I replace them. Then, I do like shopping with a woman (as the study suggests), because I know full well that what I buy on my own will likely have to exchanged because “it doesn’t go” or whatever. And if there’s one thing I hate worse than buying clothes, it’s returning them.

Tom Zatina
Guest
Tom Zatina
14 years 4 months ago

Many of the men I speak with have definite ideas about what they want – be it food, clothing, etc. – and where they like to get it. There are obvious differences as the quoted study points out. But, for many things, men are no different than women in what they look for and expect when they shop. Disappointingly, many retailers still tend to generalize the message towards women. But regardless of to what sex the message is targeted, most people know what they like and where to get it.

Things are definitely changing though. Has anyone noticed the dramatic increase in the number of “men’s” items offered and targeted towards men at upscale cosmetic counters?

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
14 years 4 months ago

Ryan has stated some valid points. Outside the retail grocery arena, department stores, whether high end or mass merchandizer type have made strides to encourage men to shop…with website info or e-mails, on specific categories of interest; or a note to help the better half.

As for the supermarkets, there are many times specific promotions, or advertising messages, can be addressed to the male shopper. For example, the ease of grilling a vegetable and meat skewered entree from the gourmet meat department, and here’s a wine to go with it; or your favorite beer.

Sheila Courington
Guest
Sheila Courington
14 years 4 months ago

The crux of the issue – at least regarding food and grocery – is necessity. Sustenance is not a gender specific issue.

In dual-earner Hhs, most likely both partners are working 50+ hours a week. Out of necessity, many men are learning to shop AND cook – my husband learned years ago that if he wanted to eat he would have to share the load.

So the idea of gender-specific food marketing is becoming passé. The real marketing ploy should be solving the stress and pain of getting food on the table – regardless of gender.

In other categories – clothing, HBA, etc, gender marketing makes more sense.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Are you seeing evidence that supermarkets are changing their merchandising to suit the needs of male shoppers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...