The bloke who loves to shop

My wife has an unusual complaint. She is the only woman I know of who has to ask her husband to stop shopping because I do it and enjoy it more than she does – and that’s a lot. When we go on holidays she has to drag me away from the shops to do other things. She has to make sure she takes a camera with her because all the photos on my memory stick are of shops.

But I am supposedly a rare breed. Or am I?

Most retailers will tell you that 65% of foot traffic in the average shopping precinct is female. But a recent ICSC research study indicated that over the past four years this pattern has begun to shift toward men (now 61% female according to the ICSC study). Malls in particular build their entire strategies around attracting female foot-traffic.

So how much of the male reluctance to shop til you drop is chicken and how much is egg? How much is because nearly all major shopping precincts devise a store mix and a shopping experience designed for women at the expense of men and how much is because the old adage of “men don’t shop” has led to a trend not to target them.

As anyone who has stood outside a Bunnings store on a Saturday morning knows when you get it right men love to shop just as much as women and in many cases are far more compulsive in their shopping behavior.

So what is a great shopping experience for the majority of men – as opposed to me?

Have a read through the pages of T3 magazine and you’ll immediately see the sort of “stuff” guys want to buy. But also bear in mind that the fastest growing consumer segment for cosmetics is men. That the age of the metrosexual has seen a resurgance in the interest of men in fashion and design. And most importantly that as women reach the zenith of their earning power they are also finding a massive reduction in the time available to them to go shopping to spend their hard earned dollars.

Men have never been such an important market for shopping precincts, retailers and brands and they will increasingly become so. But few have risen to the challenge.