The Male Supermarket Shopper

Research conducted by Marketing Sciences has shown that 45% of men are solely responsible for the food and grocery shopping in their household. This percentage took me slightly by surprise, as it was higher than I would have predicted. But this figure got me keen to investigate whether men’s in-store shopping requirements vary from those of women, and if so, whether these requirements are being catered for by supermarkets.

I recently made a lone trip to the supermarket with the instruction to buy the weekly shop, something I rarely do. Instead of creating a shopping list, I decided to simply wonder through the aisles grabbing whatever took my fancy, assuming this would result in my fridge and kitchen cupboards being full of lovely food and me eating my favourite meals for the rest of the week. However, once I got home I soon found that buying individual items I like, although enjoyable in principle, are only enjoyable when accompanied by other ingredients which make up a ‘proper’ meal. (I like beef burgers, but they began to lose their appeal when you have to decide whether to have them with spaghetti or brown bread!)

However, it seems that I am not the only person to shop this way, as recently research conducted by Marketing Sciences has demonstrated that women are significantly more likely to do their grocery shopping with specific meals in mind than men; with nearly three quarters (73%) of women saying they do this compared to just 61% of men doing the same. This notion of women going to the supermarket with specific meals or items in mind is further supported by the data showing that 68% of women are likely to use shopping lists which is significantly higher than the 54% of men who do. Lack of prior planning also appears to be more prevalent among young shoppers aged 18 – 24 who are significantly less likely to plan what they are going to buy before going into the shop, instead shopping on impulse once in the store. It also appears that shoppers could benefit with inspiration on what to buy once in-store, as nearly half (45%) of customers say they would benefit from supermarkets providing them with ideas for meals to purchase.

Question: So if male shoppers are less likely to plan what they’re going to buy in
advance than women are, what can supermarkets do in-store to provide them with
ideas or get them trying new recipes?

Answer: Use technology to advertise individual products and entire meals.

Previous research conducted by Marketing Sciences looking at how customers shop for groceries showed that men were significantly more likely than women to use technology in-store to provide them with inspiration on what to buy.

As men are more likely to go grocery shopping without a specific list or meal in mind, they are more open to suggestion on what they could purchase. As a result of this, men are significantly more likely to stop and interact with technological items in store, therefore providing supermarkets with an opportunity to advertise products. By introducing more in-store technology such as touch-screens, televised advertisements and messaging sent to smart-phones, supermarkets have an opportunity to help men with ideas on what to buy and encourage them to perhaps purchase entire meals in one visit to the store rather than just buying a few items.

We have seen that placing ingredients for a specific meal together on a fixture can be successful for supermarkets as shoppers are encouraged to buy all the ingredients for an entire meal at once, but there’s now the opportunity for stores to use technology to aid this concept further. By introducing short videos on how recipes are made or sending ingredient lists and product ideas to customers’ smart phones, supermarkets can provide inspiration on what to buy in a way that shoppers, particularly men, will be interested in.

As technology becomes an ever increasingly important part of our lives, it’s becoming more and more important for supermarkets to utilise this, as it could be the key to getting male shoppers to start broadening their culinary horizons and changing the way they shop. Who knows, it may even work on me!

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Matt Drodge
01962 842211
Article date - 08/05/2013
View all articles by this author
Comment by Adam Glincman
Monday, 19/05/2014
Hi, Was this study conducted in the US or UK? I don't think it was stated in the article. Regards, Adam
    Comment by Matt Drodge
    Tuesday, 20/05/2014
    Hi Adam The research was conducted in the UK. Please ask if you have any further questions. Thanks Matt

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