Industry

Retailers hail the rise of the male shopper, thanks in part to the phone

Men like shopping. That is now an actual thing. Thanks to the web and, in particular the smartphone, retailers have seen men spend more on clothes, shoes and grooming that women each month.

According to research by Barclaycard, smartphones and m-retailing are the key, with 69% of retailers agreeing that men prefer shopping on their smartphones, compared to women.

Debunking the myth that women are the biggest spenders, retailers say they have seen an increase in male shoppers both in-store (59%) and online (69%) in the past five years, and have expanded their male product offering as a result. While the majority (57%) of retailers sell their products to both men and women, over a quarter (26%) now cater to a largely or entirely male market, compared to just 17% that target a largely or entirely female market.

Taking advantage of the omni-channel experience 

With nearly half of British men (48%) saying they prefer to shop online to snap up the latest trends, it’s no surprise that the most commonly deployed tactic from retailers is online and social media advertising (37%).

More than a third (34%) already offer, or would consider offering their male customers the ability to purchase items directly from social media accounts, while three in 10 (31%) would make use of a customer service chatbot to help improve the online shopping experience for men.

Facebook leads the charge in being the most useful social media platform to target a male audience according to 65% of retailers, with both Instagram and Twitter falling behind, chosen by just over a third (36%). One in seven (14%) are now also working with bloggers and influencers to increase their online brand presence.

Growing appetite for variety 

Greater variety in men’s products and a recognition of changing shopping habits is driving the growing scale and volume of male-specific retail, both in-store and online. Almost a quarter (23%) of retailers who have increased the size of their men’s section in the past five years have done so because they believe men are now shopping more than women.

Of those retailers that do cater to a largely female audience, almost four in five (79%) would consider moving into men’s retail or increasing their men’s range. The majority (63%) recognise male retail as a growing market, while more than four in 10 (44%) see men’s retail as less competitive than women’s retail.

George Allardice, Head of Strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions explains: “The rise of social and digital media has made shopping more accessible and convenient for men, which in-turn has increased their purchasing power. Yet, it’s clear from our research that while men do want to shop they are put off by the overall experience – which could be causing retailers to miss out on vital sales. The good news however, is that the issues men have claimed put them off shopping – such as long queues to pay – can be easily fixed.  As the shopping experience continues to evolve, it’s important that retailers not only keep up with new trends, but capitalise on emerging technologies to provide good customer service across all channels, for every consumer. For instance – allowing shoppers to check the availability of sizes online and then quickly and easily pick-up and pay in-store could help harness loyalty by providing a faster and easier check-out process and keep customers returning time and again.”

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