The ways in which high-end retailers have been adjusting to cater to men are trickling down to more basic retail. While luxury men’s wear has been on the rise, apparently so has general male purchasing power. Dads are doing more of the family shopping, and stores and brands are changing to accommodate their tastes and habits.
What’s signifying a change in who’s buying what for the family is the fact that general retailers are re-orienting products around male shopping preferences. Procter & Gamble, for example, is setting up men’s grooming aisles at a range of stores, because more men pick out these products for themselves now, rather than rely on women to do it for them. Meanwhile, this past summer, Bloomingdale’s introduced a men’s-only arcade that took the store-within-a-store trend and turned it into a focal point for their male customer base. Sears re-organized male-oriented products so that tools and workwear were next to each other, because apparently men move through stores faster and don’t like having to ask where things are. What’s interesting is that this shift is yet another example in recent ways physical retail has followed trends set by online retail in order to keep up — e-commerce is already well-adjusted to cater to its male customer base.
All of this is a big step forward from other recent retail efforts to cater to men, like the Australian Ikea that tested out a “Manland,” where men could basically go hang out while their wives and girlfriends did the actual shopping. So, ladies, the next time you find the layout at a big box retailer doesn’t seem to quite work for you, you’ve got men, and their increasing predilection to do the family shopping, to thank.