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Recently I read a newspaper article referencing something called a mancession. A mancession is an economic instance in which the unemployment rate is substantially higher among men than it is among women. The term was coined in 2008 but is apparently a growing trend of which retailers are taking notice. That's right, retailers; and in more ways than one.

 

Among the side effects of the mancession is a growing trend of men taking a more active role in household duties. That means more men in the grocery store aisle, discount stores, and malls. Granted, the stats still show that women do the majority of shopping in the U.S. But, according to a Nielson Report since 2004, men have increasingly accounted for a higher percentage of the household dollars spent at discount stores, mass merchandisers, warehouse or club retailers, convenience stores and supercenters.

 

Proctor & Gamble began testing "man aisles" in 2009 and is expanding the program into some Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens stores in U.S. and Canada in 2012. The company utilized accompanied shopping trips and focus groups to find that men were uncomfortable with the primarily female based shopping experience. Their "man aisles" will focus previously scattered men's personal care items now in one area as well as placing male items prominently vs. subprime level on shelves.

 

Retailers are doing anything they can to attract the male shopper - and who knows men better than another "bro"? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics eight out of ten job losses may have hit men but since the U.S. economic recovery started in mid-2009, a whopping 97 percent of the new jobs - all but 43,000 of 1.4 million positions created - have gone to the guys.

 

What's interesting about this isn't that men outpaced women in getting jobs; it's how they're doing it. Many are taking on new careers traditionally held by women. Where are most of those jobs? You guessed it, retail. From November 2010 to November 2011, over 1 million men and 600,000 women gained jobs. Retailers overwhelmingly hired men over women during the same time period.

 

It will be very interesting to see how this trend develops and how it changes our marketing and financial perspective.

 

Discussion

 

Do you see the same trend of "man aisles" in your local retailers?

How do you think this trend will materialize in your commissary/EXCHANGE?

Who does the majority of the shopping in your home?

In your local area do you find more men working in retail settings?