Supermarket Shopping for Dads, Grads and Other Lads

Supermarket Shopping for Dads, Grads and Other Lads

Naomi Sleeper
Director of Business Development
Imperial Distributors



In honor of Father’s Day coming up next month, our May Non-Foods thoughts focus on products for male consumers. With grilling tools and gadgets—as well as camping gear and summer beer accessories—on display in stores this month, supermarkets offer a variety of giftable seasonal general merchandise suitable for men (and women; though men still tend to reign over the grill in the U.S.: 41% of men, versus 22% of women, say they do most of the grilling for their family according to a 2015 survey). The growth in specialty men’s grooming products on the market now provides grocery stores and consumers with a new important avenue for male-oriented product: the HBW aisle.

Changes in HBW assortments reflect the surge of men’s grooming products. While men’s shaving and deodorants have traditionally dominated men’s grooming sales, men’s personal care categories are seeing significant growth. Several well-established brands have launched or expanded men-specific lines (e.g. Old Spice’s “Hardest Working Collection”; Cetaphil, Nivea, Dove Degree, Vaseline and Suave men’s line extensions).
Men’s skincare and hair products grew 300% in 2015, according to Style (2016); and the category has now reached over $6 billion. Despite a more recent “anti-grooming” trend for men in 2017 (according to TheTrendSpotter), Google Trends shows a continued climb of the search term “men’s grooming” over the last five years, with a recent spike in “men’s skincare.”

Reports by DeWolf Chemical and Global Industry Analyst identify several key market drivers contributing to the growth in men’s grooming products:
– Rise in appearance-conscious men with high disposable income
– Focus on multi-functionality (e.g. sun protection and anti-aging benefits) in every day skincare products
– Development of technology to address specific needs in men’s grooming products (e.g. hair loss and sensitive scalp hair care formulas)
– Increased spending on personal care products among men
– Growing number of natural and organic men’s skincare and hair care brands

The development in men’s grooming products parallels the increase in male shoppers in supermarkets over the past several years. While only 14% of grocery shopping was attributed to men in 1985, this number was reported to be 43% in 2014, according to a Hartman Group study. Today, men are the primary shopper in over 40 million households in the U.S.

The increase in male shoppers in supermarkets points to the importance of aligning product preferences, marketing and merchandising with their shopping tendencies. A Kellogg White Paper (2015) suggest several key shopping habits specific to the average male shopper (compared to the average female shopper):

1. Less planning and preparation of shopping trips and lists
2. Greater frequency of grocery shopping (at least twice per week)
3. Less price-sensitivity and more impulsivity (tendency to spend more per trip — $95.9 vs. $91.7)
4. Preference for “grab ‘n go” shopping approach to shopping with priority of convenience and ease
5. Greater brand consciousness and ad-driven preferences

Recognizing these buying habits, several large-chain retailers have aimed to engage and accommodate these shopping tendencies with dedicated space in stores for male-oriented product. These targeted sections of both conventional and new product provide stores with a great platform for featuring the broader variety of male-oriented products.

Whether appealing to male shoppers every day or Father’s Day and male-graduate gift seekers this season, boosting in-store assortments of men’s products this month will drive robust sales.