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Is the man of your house spending more time in the freezer section and less time in the tool aisle? If so, he's not alone. More men are making household shopping decisions today than ever before, according to a new report released by New York City-based market research firm Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI). By last spring, men were the principal purchaser of items like groceries and children's clothing in 21 percent of all households, up considerably since 1985 when men wore the homemaker sash in just 13 percent of homes. The increased shopping by men creates opportunities and challenges for marketers, says Kathi Love, president and chief executive officer of MRI. “To be effective, advertising needs to consider this gender shift to reach men, both in the message and the medium,� says Love. She suggests that packaged goods marketers consider expanding their campaigns beyond women.

Which types of product are best poised to take advantage of the gender shift? Start off in the freezer aisle: MRI reports that men today purchase a quarter (25 percent) of all frozen breakfasts. Men also account for a sizeable share of buyers of canned stews (24 percent), regular (not diet) cola drinks (24 percent), ready-to-drink iced teas (23 percent), wart and corn removers (23 percent) and even shampoos (22 percent).

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