'Family Man' Position In Men's Market Is Eroding

Forget marketing to married guys; pitch single men. That might seem like irrelevant advice to marketers who have lately focused on the hands holding the family purse strings: marketers pitching everything from peanut butter to Nascar have been targeting women more and more in recent years--both as an effort to grow their share of female loyalists and as a way to reach the rest of the family through their purchases.

Nascar's deal with Kroger's network of supermarkets in more than 30 states reflects that tactic, as does Chrysler's advertising and marketing around its new Town and Country minivan, using Nickelodeon characters like Jimmy Neutron and Sponge Bob Square Pants.

A new study suggests that, while that tactic makes perfect sense, it may have to do with the weakening influence of married men. The study also suggests that even though women control family purchases of a range of products, men--especially single and divorced men--might be the real demographic growth market, especially for discretionary products around style, gadgets and feel-good foods.



So much for suffrage. Per "U.S. Men's Market," a report from market research clearinghouse Packaged Facts, men are just shy of half the U.S. population, generate about 62% of total personal income and will earn an additional 19% of the aggregate adult income by 2012, reaching $6 trillion.

According to the study, men between the ages of 18 and 34 are likely to try new styles, new electronic equipment and new health food. They also are more likely to enjoy shopping even when they don't purchase something, and they watch for special offers and shop for bargains.

Men between the ages of 35 and 59, with household responsibilities, are more likely than both younger and older men to hit strip malls, home furnishings and home improvement stores.

The firm warns that married men with kids are going to be a weakening force among male shoppers, with single men--whether never married or divorced--taking up the slack. "As a result of the declining educational achievement of men and the long-term loss of stable, high-paying jobs for men without a college degree, the focal position of the family man in the men's market will continue to erode," notes Tatjana Meerman, the publisher of Packaged Facts.

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