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Gear marketing plans to the male shopper.

As the number of working women increases it becomes more and more likely that the male had of the household will share in many of the domestic duties such as the grocery shopping. Recent studies indicate that in households with both partners working, the male is twice as likely to help with domestic chores such as grocery shopping than are males in households where the female head is not employed full time.

Another reason for the increase in the number of men shopping is simply that demographically, there are more single male households in the U.S. today than there were a decade ago. The 1980 census reported that there are about 7 million males now living along, accounting for about 8% of all U.S. households. That level is twice the number observed 10 years earlier. The majority of these men are either young men who have never married or are recently divorced. The indications are that with the growth in the total number of single person households expected during the next decade, single male households will continue to grow as well.

Although the living situations of married and single males are different, it appears that their attitudes toward their new role as grocery shoppers are similar. This is an important factor for the retail grocery industry to understand in developing strategies to reach this new emerging market.

In general, the male shopper considers the task of doing the family grocery shopping to be a nuisance. Therefore, convenience and time spent shopping in the store are the primary factors influencing the male approach to shopping. Given this attitude toward grocery shopping, most men tend not to be loyal to any one particular store, look for grocery stores that offer variety, are more brand loyal and are less price conscious than the majority of female shoppers.

When shopping for groceries, men are more likely to choose a store for its convenient location rather than its name. If a man must do the grocery shopping he will tend to go to the nearest store, even if it means paying a few cents more for each item. The majority of male shoppers do not believe that they will save time or money by traveling a longer distance to find a store with cheaper prices. Additionally, stores advertising specials are not likely to attract a larger number of male shoppers if the location of the store is not convenient. Unlike many female shoppers, men will not go from store to store in search of bargains because it is simply too time consuming.

The need for convenience also affects the purchase decision of brands a male shopper is likely to buy. By purchasing the same brand each time it is easier for the male shopper to go into a store, find what he wants and get out of the store quickly. Comparison shopping for cheaper brands can be too time consuming. Also, some men agree that by switching brands there is a greater risk of not liking the new and not using all of it.

Incidentally, brand loyalty is not only prevalent in male shopping patterns. More working women are showing greater brand loyalty as well with the major reason being the same as that of the male shopper--it's easier and more convenient to buy the same brand time after time.

Having a variety of products available to choose from is also highly important to many men who do grocery shopping. Since time is at a premium, the male grocery shopper would prefer the grocery store to carry a variety of products, brands and sizes. Grocery stores carrying a wide variety of bakery, deli and alcoholic beverage items, as well as household items such as kitchen utensils, would be very popular with male shoppers.

Many men are not particularly sensitive to the prices of various grocery items they buy. This is because most men are usually in a hurry to get in and out of the store quickly and do not take the time to compare prices. (This is another reason for the high level of brand loyalty.)

Coupons used by many women as a way to watch prices and keep their grocery bills down usually are ignored by the male shopper. The use of coupons is thought by many to be a nuisance and a major reason checkout lines are too slow. And many men do not feel that coupons aid in saving enough money to warrant the amount of time it takes to clip, save and sort them. Winning Them Over

For marketers of grocery products, the implications for dealing with this emerging group of shoppers are subtle. Since men tend to be brand loyal, it may be easier to keep them in the franchise (once you've got them), but obviously it will be more difficult to induce them to switch to your franchise. Given that couponing is not used by most men, it may not be the most effective promotional tool to induce men to try a new brand or switch brands. So how can marketers of grocery products bring these male purchasers into their franchise, and keep them there?

First, they should consider featuring more men in advertising for specific food or household products. By including men, the marketer might be more likely to reach this growing segment (and continue appealing to women as well).

Men relate well to ads that show them actively using products and exchanging their ideas with other men or women. More importantly, ads illustrating usage by men of a particular brand might do much to give an image that the product is purchased by men as well as women, and it just may stimulate the thoughts of the male shopper to at least try the brand.

Since couponing may not be best in reaching this group, promotional tie-ins with male oriented products may be more effective. If couponing is used as a vehicle for reaching the male shopper, then thought should be given to onpack instant redeemable coupons. The key here is that promotional devices used to attract the male consumer should be exciting enough to provoke thought, yet easy and convenient for him to use, therefore generating trial.

Since the number of male shoppers will continue to grow throughout the next decade, and will account for larger percentages of the purchasers of grocery products, they can no longer be ignored. It will be the most innovative grocery products marketers who will devise exciting ways to capture larger shares of this emerging market.
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Title Annotation:grocery retailers
Author:Rowan, Nile M.
Publication:Progressive Grocer
Article Type:column
Date:Feb 1, 1984
Words:1088
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