Male shoppers offer growth

18 January 2011

NEW YORK: Male consumers could play a more important role in the purchase process than marketers generally allow for, a survey has found.

Yahoo, the online giant, interviewed 2,400 men to identify their current attitudes and habits in this area.

It revealed that 63% believed they were "primarily responsible" for making household investments, a standing assumed by 59% regarding paying bills.

A further 57% had adopted a leading position concerning planning budgets, and 51% took a pre-eminent status relating to buying groceries.

Contributors posted the same score for arranging vacations, although figures slipped to 41% when discussing laundry and 39% where cooking was mentioned.

Within the overall totals, around 60% of fathers stated they now exert a guiding hand in categories including packaged goods, pet food and apparel.

However, small minorities of between 22% and 24% thought ads from these sectors effectively communicated with them.

Lauren Weinberg, Yahoo's director, research and insights, agreed panellists might be inflating their involvement in purchase decisions, especially as findings among females did not always support such evidence.

Weinberg also asserted male customers' perceptions of shopping were rapidly changing, offering opportunities as they are typically more brand loyal and less keen on discounts and deals than women.

The fact this demographic boasts slightly lower product familiarity means informative advertising tends to make a particular impact.

Shopper marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi X estimates that 35% of footfall in grocery and mass-merchandise outlets is drawn from the male audience.

Procter & Gamble has stated its intention to target what it views as a neglected consumer segment in fields such as skincare and cosmetics, and the firm's Head & Sholders and Prilosec ranges are affiliated with the NFL.

Similarly, the "Smell Like a Man, Man" campaign for the organisation's Old Spice aftershave gained significant viral traction.

The FMCG specialist also recently launched an online portal,, aimed at fathers, which contains a mix of material from relationship to cleaning advice, and promotes brands like Gillette and Head & Shoulders

"What we are trying to do is speak to the whole man," said Jeannie Tharrington, external relations manager at Procter & Gamble Productions.

John Badalament, a writer and founder of website, suggested marketers must rethink depictions of men.

"Men need to be something other than invisible or buffoons in advertising," he said.

This seemingly confirms the results of a survey of 3,000 millennial consumers in China, France, India, the UK and US published by Euro RSCG in November 2010.

It reported there a "pining for chivalry" was displayed by female participants living in developed countries.

"Judging from the content of TV commercials and sitcoms, men are a sorry lot. It's a wonder they're able to brush their teeth without the supervision and assistance of their far-more-capable wives," Euro RSCG said.

"While the bumbling, skill-deficient guy may be good for a laugh, young people want to see demonstrations of male strength and responsibility. Let's show more role models and fewer buffoons."

Data sourced from AdAge, New York Times, Euro RSCG; additional content by Warc staff