Recently, I watched Morgan Spurlock’s “Mansome.” It was part lesson on the history of men’s grooming, part study of extreme behaviors, and part funny guys poking fun. What was most striking to me though was the contrast between the attitudes of contemporary men at two ends of a spectrum. On one end are those obsessively focused on their appearance; on the other, those who see almost any grooming not directed at sexual conquest as an un-masculine indulgence.
While most of today’s men live on neither end of this spectrum, there is evidence they are being pulled by some unseen gravitational force — if not toward a grooming obsession, certainly toward being more engaged shoppers with a growing taste for luxury and fashion.
An Increasing Engagement with Shopping
Retailers, who have long referred to a shopper as “she,” might find its time for a change of lexicon since it turns out, in some cases, men are out-shopping women, particularly online.
A Growing Taste for Luxury
After years of softness, the U.S. luxury market is seeing recovery this year, with growth predicted at 5-7%. That growth is coming, more than in the past, from men. In March, CNBC reported that the men’s luxury market is outperforming the women’s in all categories.
Luxury menswear is on the leading edge of this growth trend. Bain & Company reported growth of about 14% per year for this segment — nearly double the pace of luxury women’s wear. And affluent men aren’t driving this trend alone. In fact, spending on luxury fashion among average (non-affluent) men is growing more quickly than it is among either affluents or their non-affluent female counterparts.
A Pinteresting Statistic
A new survey shows that male users are more than twice as likely to make a purchase off Pinterest as female users. In a June 2012 survey by Compete, 37% of men reported having bought something after discovering it on the site compared to 17% of women. Recognizing male Pinterest users are a small universe, this still says something interesting about how men are using the site.
I’d guess these behaviors would baffle some of the more traditional men featured in “Mansome,” but they point to changing attitudes and changing expectations that have important implications for marketers.