Attracted by self-service format, more men take to shopping

12 Aug,2013

By Writankar Mukherjee & Sagar Malviya


Most daily-use product advertisements might still be talking to housewives but, hey, it’s men who now do most of the shopping in FMCG, grocery and food segments. Sales data obtained from leading food and grocery retail chains including Future Group, Spencer’s Retail and Aditya Birla Retail shows that single male shoppers account for 40-45% of their total customers, more than double the number of single female shoppers at 20%. And up to 70% of their shoppers are male consumers, be it single, with family or friends. Just four years ago, women shoppers would account for around 55% of the consumers in modern retail.


Retailers attribute this new trend to social changes with men sharing household responsibilities with their partners and many men cooking at home, buoyed by a flurry of television cook shows.


“The social change and modern retail has turned grocery shopping into a weekly activity unlike earlier when men used to consider it as a boring chore,” Devendra Chawla, president (Food Bazaar) at the country’s largest retailer Future Group, says. “In fact, men now actually look forward to shopping in super markets,” he adds.


Mohit Kampani, president and CEO at Spencer’s Retail, says the key reason for growth in male shoppers is self-service format, which has made shopping more convenient and delivering wide assortment at one location. “In fact, male shoppers are making a transition to self-service retail away from the traditional formats,” he says. This is good for retailers because men are impulsive shoppers than women and they like to experiment with newer products.


Male shoppers tend to buy more of vegetables and impulse-driven categories such as confectionery, biscuits, frozen food, drinks and juices and skin care products than their female counterparts, Kampani says. As per Spencer’s Retail estimates, male consumers shop frequently for topping up the monthly shopping basket, while female customers tend to purchase monthly requirements.


Russell Berman, CEO (hypermarkets) at Aditya Birla Retail, says male shoppers also enjoy the process of picking and sorting and are aware of quality choices like texture, size of grain and smell, that are mandatory checks when purchasing loose produce. “Men are also open to trying out new products and their basket sizes are larger than those of women shopping alone,” he says.


Mr Chawla of Future Bazaar says the dominance of male shoppers is driving growth of newer categories like gourmet food and grooming products. A recent study by TNS in partnership with IIM-A, KiE Square and OgilvyAction reveals that men don’t care much about the pack size or product format.


“All they care about is the brand. And if a small pack of their favourite brand is all they can afford, they’ll go for it even if another brand offers a larger pack size for the same price. This is an advertiser’s dream,” the study notes.


It also says that even female consumers buy more when they bring a male along. “In their company, women spend between 30% to 50% more than they would have spent if alone. In fact, women spend the least when shopping alone and the most when shopping with their spouse,” the study says.


Source:The Economic Times

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