retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) is out with a new study concluding that "despite radical changes in society, women still dominate the retail marketplace. Although women’s personal and professional advancements have grown significantly in recent decades, the time spent grocery shopping has not decreased.

"According to the study, two-thirds of women say they still handle much of the grocery shopping and, furthermore, they still take the time to make the decisions with three quarters of them forming shopping lists and 53% taking time to clip coupons and search for specials. And 40% of women shoppers say they spend about an hour in the supermarket.

"Women are also the rulers of the kitchen. Eighty-four percent of women still act as the sole preparer of meals in the household, with 61% of women stating they prepare meals at least five times per week. And the majority of these meals are not prepackaged meals that require a quick nuke in the microwave, 64% make most meals using fresh ingredients which generally take more time."

The report goes on: "Aside from meal preparation and grocery shopping, women are also responsible for the other important household areas: Seven in ten women say cleaning the house is their job and three-fourths take on the majority of the laundry in the home. Since women are those making the purchases, they have become frequent store brand purchasers, with only three percent saying they never buy store brands."
KC's View:
I find this study to be troubling, in part because it seems to be at odds with so much of the other research that I've seen about how men are taking a greater role in the food shopping experience. The PLMA study seems to be harkening back to the days of June Cleaver; I almost expected that it was going to suggest that when women are doing the shopping, cleaning, laundry and cooking, they also like to wear pearls.

But I think the broader problem with such research is that when marketers think about shoppers in a time of enormous change, they need the greatest possible specificity about who the shopper is, when and how he or she is shopping, what they are buying, and why they are making decisions.