Men are becoming more confident shoppers

The shopping habits of American men are undergoing significant changes, according to a new market study of retail executives commissioned by GQ magazine. Men are more confident, independent, willing to shop alone, and no longer reliant on the women in their lives to influence their purchasing decisions.

The new findings suggest that men now shop for fun and leisure, and make the majority of their own apparel purchases. In addition, men are increasingly likely to buy products for themselves, in particular when shopping for electronics, casual clothing, watches, and fragrance or grooming products.

“As we survey the fall shopping season, we are very pleased to see that this market study indicates such an impressive level of comfort and independence for men as well-informed and active shoppers, and for the retailers who cater to them in the men’s retail marketplace,” said Peter King Hunsinger, vice president and publisher of GQ.

Among the survey’s findings for 2005: * A total of 84 percent of men purchase their own clothes—versus a similar study 2001 commissioned by GQ that found just 65 percent of men purchased their own clothing.

* More than 50 percent of the retailers surveyed report that their male customers shop at least once a month—versus the 2001 study in which only 10% of the executives said that their male customers shopped at least once a month

* On average, male customers shop at the surveyed retailers’ stores 18 times a year—versus 5 times a year in the 2001 study.

* The tendency of men to purchase products for themselves has increased most significantly for electronics (64 percent), casual clothing (62 percent), men’s watches (53 percent), and fragrances/grooming products (50 percent).

* A total of 53% of the retail executives surveyed witnessed a spike in “casual clothing” purchases for men during the past two years, and 41 percent of the respondents anticipate continued growth in this category for the next two years.

* The “sweet spot” (average age) of male shoppers for every apparel category surveyed is between 30 and 39.

GQ magazine commissioned RWA Research, an independent marketing research firm in New York City, to conduct the study of retail executives. Though commissioned by GQ, the executive survey was conducted anonymously and made no reference to the magazine.