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Study Highlights Opportunities to Target Male Shoppers

CHICAGO — J. Sainsbury gives men good reason to go grocery shopping: They can watch sports.

The U.K. supermarket chain is testing shopping carts that come with a tilting iPad dock. Under a partnership with Sky television, shoppers who bring their iPads and download a Sky app can watch their favorite sporting events as they fill up their shopping carts.

U.S. retailers should take note because men are more involved in shopping and cooking, according to a new survey from the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

“This is an audience that can be engaged,” said Jon Berry, vice president, GfK Custom Research. GfK conducted the survey on male vs. female shopping habits for PLMA. Released at the PLMA’s annual trade show last week, the study is based on an October phone survey of 1,000 male and 1,000 female primary household shoppers.

The survey showed that retailers shouldn’t stereotype male shoppers as being impulse shoppers without a plan or list.

More than two-thirds of male supermarket shoppers compare prices, while 64% make a shopping list ahead of time and 47% browse the store to look for unadvertised specials.

“Guys are smarter than you think,” said Berry.

There are differences, however, when it comes to couponing. While more than half (53%) of women use coupons, just 39% of men do the same.

Men are more likely than women, however, to use technology like cell phones to do research while in the store (36% vs. 29%).

“Men might be a better target for mobile technology than women at this point,” he said.

Men want to get out of the store quickly, with 59% saying they spend less than one hour in the store. In comparison, 57% of women said they spend an hour or more in the store.

Read more from PLMA 2012: Mackey Says Businesses Must Have a Conscience

Yet, men don’t necessarily rush when it comes to meal preparation. Eighty-one percent said they make meals themselves using fresh or raw ingredients (compared with 89% of women).

“What this says is that you can put together meal ideas for men that include fresh ingredients,” he said.

Cooking is becoming an increasingly popular activity among men. Food and cooking ranked No. 7 in the Top 10 interests of men in 2011, up from No. 12 in 2004, according to Roper Reports. (Technology came in No. 1.)

“The kitchen is the new garage,” he said. “Cooking is almost as much of a passion as cars are.”

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