Is Grocery Shopping Becoming a “Guy Thing”?
Michael D. Sleeper, Chief Executive Officer, Imperial Distributors, Inc.
According to a 2014 study by The Hartman Group, grocery shopping is no longer the domain of women. In fact, more than 43% of the weekly grocery shopping is done all or in part by men. This figure was 14% in 1985 and 30% in 2011.
The reasons for this growing trend can be attributed to a number of factors. First, in families where both spouses work, shared grocery shopping and cooking have become more common. Second, as the millennium generation marries later in life, more single men have gained experience shopping and have become more confident and skilled in the kitchen.
The Food Network has also helped this trend by showing that food shopping, cooking, and eating is less feminine than in the past and that preparing quality and healthy food can be challenging and personally rewarding for men.
Given the growth in male supermarket shoppers, it is evident that they cannot be ignored and must be taken seriously when it comes to product innovation, marketing, and merchandising efforts.
In response to the increase in male shoppers, non-foods manufacturers have expanded their product lines to meet the needs of the male consumer. The fastest growing non-foods category in supermarkets, seeing an annual increase of 4-6%, is in the men’s grooming and personal care departments.
P&G launched its new Gillette Body Razor, the brands first razor designed for bodies. Schick is marketing its Hydro 5-in-1 Groomer, and Colgate-Palmolive introduced its Irish Spring Men’s Signature line of body washes and moisturizers.
Uniliver recently launched its Dove Men’s Care Expert Shave line of premium men’s shaving products. There has also been brand diversification of men’s grooming and personal care products from Axe, Nivea, and Old Spice to name only a few.
Today, the “image conscious” male shopper can find a wide range and variety of pre and post shave cosmetic products designed especially for his personality and lifestyle.
While more and more males are becoming the primary shopper, it is important for supermarket retailers to recognize and accommodate the male consumer’s “search and retrieve” mentality. They want to be able to quickly find what they want and to check-out effortlessly. Convenience and ease of shopping are a priority.
To help accomplish the goal of making it easy to locate and shop, supermarkets like Giant Eagle in PA have tested what some call “Man-Friendly”, “Male Zones”, or “Guy Aisles” where male related grocery, beverage and non-foods are centrally located. These aisles are reminiscent of those talked about in 2009 by P&G.
With more men taking on the role of primary grocery shopper, it is time to come together to develop strategies to take advantage of this “untapped” and growing market.
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