In 1983, the film “Mr. Mom” starred Michael Keaton as a stay-at-home dad. The movie comically shed light on the differences between men and women (dad versus mom) running a household, hitting the grocery store and getting dinner on the table. Fast forward nearly 30 years and the fictional movie plot is now a reality for many families. More women have day jobs while the men stay at home with the kids, cook meals and taking on food shopping responsibilities. In fact, an ESPN study revealed that 31 percent of today’s grocery shoppers are men compared to 14 percent in 1985. There’s no question economic conditions paired with unemployment rates and an evolution in “traditional” domestic roles each played a factor in more men braving the grocery aisles.
Interestingly, recent research has shown there is a significant difference between male/female shopping habits. For example, women tend to rely on a detailed grocery list while guys simply get what they think the family needs. Men step into a store and become “hunters” circling every aisle looking for deals. Women on the other hand tend to go for trusted brands and know what aisles to hit and which ones to avoid. Nielsen research also shows women spend an average of $44.43 per trip to the grocery store while men spend $34.81. Plus, nearly one in four men spend 46 minutes or longer in a store compared to women.
So what are Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers doing to react? There is a paradigm shift in the making for the $560 billion retail food industry that has faithfully referred to its primary customer as “she.” Some “man-aisles” have been popping up around the country in Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and other chains. CPG giant Proctor and Gamble even launched a website called Man of the House to promote its products to male shoppers. Additionally, male-driven products, such as sport drinks, are gaining more prominent positions in the grocery store.
But does it really matter who’s pushing the cart? A nationwide survey of 1,000 fathers conducted by Yahoo and market research firm DB5 released in 2011 said 51 percent were the primary grocery shoppers in their household. Of that group, 60 percent said they were the primary decision-maker regarding which packaged goods made it into the cart.
Hmmm. Does your company plan to refocus marketing and advertising firepower that was once reserved for females to better cater to the growing customer base of guy grocery shoppers? A complete overhaul seems premature, but Mr. Mom in aisle five is the new “lady of the house” and can no longer be ignored.