What We're Talking About

Men shopping more, but have different drivers

BY: Tim Linden | DATE: September 22, 2014

An NPD Group research project has confirmed that men are more often the primary shopper in their households than they once were, but they accomplish the task a bit differently than women and approach it with different attitudes.

Anecdotal evidence, as simple as one's own observation, seemingly points to a growing trend of more men doing the grocery shopping.  

Darren Seifer, an NPD food and beverage industry analyst, said that research group had heard the same supposition and set about to quantify the belief with data. During May and June, researchers for the NPD Group interviewed almost 3,000 adults about their grocery shopping habits and produced NPD's The New Grocery Shopper.  

"We found that 41 percent of men and 59 percent of women claim they are the primary shopper for their households," he said.

This compares to a study done by the consumer research firm GfK MRI and an ESPN report in 2011 indicating that 31 percent of men nationwide were the primary household grocery shoppers that year, up from 14 percent in 1985. This represents a 33 percent increase in three years and a 200 percent increase over the past 30 years.

This is partly explained by an increase in single-person households. Sixteen percent of the men in the NPD research said they are shopping for one-person households, while 12 percent of the primary women shoppers were in this category.

Still, the research clearly points to more men doing the shopping and controlling more of the grocery dollar than ever before.

Interestingly, Seifer said the research did not show much of a statistical difference based on age. While it has been reported that households consisting of millennials are more apt to share household duties than older Americans, the research showed that men in every adult age group are handling the primary shopping in fairly equal percentages.

Seifer reiterated that the survey was based on conversations and not observations, and consequently perception and reality sometimes diverge.

For example, many respondents indicated that the shopping duty for their particular household is split between the man and the woman in the household.

In this category, 54 percent of the men said the shopping duty is shared evenly.  However, 61 percent of the women who say they share this duty with the man in their household claim to do the lion's share.

There is also a difference in the perception of the activity.  Men generally view shopping as a chore that they are interested in accomplishing quickly, while more women view it as an activity that allows for some leisure contemplation, including "shopping" aisles that are not on their shopping list.

However, women use a shopping list more often than men, and women also spend a significantly higher amount of money than men on the average trip. Women spend an average of $97 on each shopping trip while men lag behind at $83.  

For the produce department, the news that men are shopping more often is not necessarily good news. Seifer said that during their respective trips to the market, 84 percent of the time women buy fresh produce. When men are doing the primary shopping for their households, they buy produce only 68 percent of the time.

On the other hand, men shop the prepared foods sections more often than women. Convenience appears to play a bigger role for men and may point to increased opportunities for marketers of fresh produce and other items that could be packaged more conveniently.

When examining the foods and beverages in homes in which the male is the primary grocery shopper, convenience plays a greater role than those homes in which women are the primary shopper, according to the report.

Prepared foods are purchased more often by male primary grocery shoppers, affording them the opportunity to acquire foods that require little to no effort. Male grocery shoppers are also less interested in the consumption of better-for-you foods or avoidance of certain foods than are women grocery shoppers.  

"A deeper understanding of each male shopper age group is necessary for companies that want their messages and products to appeal to men," said Seifer.

But that could be well worth the effort as the 41 percent of households with a male being the primary grocery shopper represent more than 40 million households.

Seifer said the take-home message is that while men are doing more shopping, they appear to be doing it "begrudgingly."  

He said it would behoove marketers and retailers to cater messages and service to this group of shoppers who are more interested in getting in and out quickly than in "shopping" every aisle. He suggested that an app that tells the male shopper exactly what aisle the product he is looking for is on might be very useful - and it might attract that shopper back to that store.

"Just as there are slow shifts in consumption behaviors over time, so are there slow shifts in who does the grocery shopping," said Seifer. "While men make up more than their fair share of people who say grocery shopping is a chore, the fact remains that they're doing it more often, which means that different dynamics are coming into play."

Link to full article:  http://producenews.net/news-dep-menu/test-featured/14103-retail-view-men-shopping-more-but-have-different-drivers

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