As marketers duke it out in the critical holiday sales season, they'd be wise not to forget about a key demo: men.
Yes, men -- who outspend women during almost every annual holiday, according to a study from ESPN Research and Analytics.
While women often shop without buying and visit multiple stores, men expect to buy when they shop and prefer to buy many products at one store, according to the study's researchers Barbara Singer, VP-advertiser insights and strategies, and Patricia Betron, senior VP-multimedia sales, at ESPN.
A full 33% of men consider themselves the primary shopper for the household, up from 14% of men who described themselves that way in 1985, according to ESPN. That's in part because 70% of women are now working outside the home, Ms. Singer said. "Retail has always been aimed at women and how women shop and behave, but men are the prime target if you're looking to grow the sector," said Ms. Betron in an interview.
To complete the study ESPN Research and Analytics compiled online survey results from 1,800 adults ages 18 to 54 in December 2012 and February 2013 and interviewed 20 18-to-54-year-old men in two markets during October and December 2012. ESPN collaborated with research company Ipsos and the study included data from market researcher Gfk Roper and the National Retail Federation. The results are from the second round of research completed by ESPN; the first were released in 2011.
Marketers should consider that men "claim to be a faster shopper and a more directed shopper," said Ms. Singer. But around the holidays, 56% report spending more time on shopping trips. The ESPN research shows "they'll go in and get what they need and then as a reward they will wander and start to browse" the electronics and apparel departments for items for themselves.
"We like to say [men] are not shoppers. They're buyers," said Ms. Betron.
Men tend to be less price sensitive "because they want to get it done and please the person" being shopped for, said Ms. Singer. The study suggests men outspend women by 39% around the holidays and found that 44% of men said they spend more money during the holiday. Additionally, among their friends, "They want to brag that they spent 'X' amount of money," she said.
Another takeaway from the research: men seek value -- but don't only associate value with spending less. Value might mean spending more but getting the perfect item, based on plenty of research. Men are more likely than women to use the internet and mobile phones to research potential purchases and 87% more likely to check online, other stores or the same store after purchase to see if they got the best deal.
One retailer who's used ESPN to reach men is Kay Jewelers, which is sponsoring the company's new SportsCenter app for iPhone and Android. George Murray, the jeweler's senior VP-marketing, said the company's "communication with the sports enthusiast members of our target audience and the holistic approach to sports, which ESPN represents has well served both of us for many years, and this technology enhancement fits well with our company's evolving digital ecosystem."