The stereotype that women like to shop more than men is coming apart at the seams—at least in bricks-and-mortar stores.
Research has long pointed to a major gap between how men and women make buying decisions, with today’s men less likely to opt for mobile or online shopping, and less likely to prioritize savings, according to First Insight.
Many men would rather go into a physical location, “where they can get a more hands-on experience with the merchandise in question,” whether it’s menswear or electronics, says Greg Briest, who specializes in retail leasing at JLL.
“It may be more old school, but going into a physical location can be simpler and more personal than scrolling through online options,” he says.
Until recently, the convention in most big apparel and department stores was to give as much square footage as possible to women’s sections. Men’s offerings were laid out in whatever space was leftover. But some studies have shown men outspending woman on apparel in certain locations—by a full 43 percent, in the UK, according to a study conducted by American Express and Nectar.
Retailers in the United States are acting on the growing appetite for more male-centric products. Harry’s Shaving, for example, started as an online-only subscription service in 2013, and has since found a home for its products in American chain retailers like Walmart and Target—who also happen to be rolling out new men’s grooming departments.
What’s inspiring men to spend more in physical stores?
- Men want to touch and feel products before they buy them
The desire for hands-on shopping is a stronger draw for men to visit physical stores compared with women, according to First Insight.
- Men want personalized convenience
“Men appreciate the convenience of getting a suit that fits just so, without actually having to go out and find a tailor,” says Briest.
Men are also more likely to look to sales associates for help and personalized recommendations. Almost three-quarters of men surveyed by Euclid Analytics frequently interact with sales associates, compared to 65 percent of women.
- Millennial men, in particular, are as interested in the shopping experience as the products they buy
Right now, many brands are trying to create unique store experiences. The luxury lifestyle brand Shinola, for example, has a bustling tattoo parlor in its Los Angeles outpost. Younger male shoppers seem to appreciate these efforts more than their older counterparts and are more drawn to retail events like limited edition series sales, in some cases lining up for blocks just to get inside a shop.
“Retailers looking to attract shoppers in-store are finding that a memorable environment can help them do just that,” says Briest. “Many men really do appreciate that effort and customer experience as opposed to shopping online.”