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Man in supermarket

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Studies, surveys and simple observations have shown that more men are going grocery shopping, and using coupons these days. But are they any good at it? Just ask their wives – as soon as they stop laughing.

A new survey says women still do the majority of the shopping and coupon-clipping. And many of the women say it’s because they’re just better at it.

Sorry, guys.

According to the just-released study “Today’s Primary Shopper” by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, even though more women are working outside the home, and more men are pitching in with the household duties, two-thirds of women say they still do most of their household’s grocery shopping. Three-quarters say they carry more than half of the load. “Society may be radically changing,” the report says, “but women still dominate the marketplace.”

They also still do most of the cooking, laundry and house cleaning, according to the survey. Yet they still find time to look for grocery deals. 53% of the women surveyed say they use coupons and watch the sales circulars, 72% compare prices on the items they need and 87% buy store brands at least part of the time.

Surely, though, all those male shoppers aren’t blowing their budgets, grabbing brand names at full price without ever clipping a single coupon? After all, in a 2011 Coupons.com survey, 59% of men claimed they used coupons (though not necessarily just on groceries). The PLMA study didn’t ask men about their shopping habits. But they did ask women what they thought about men’s shopping habits.

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And their verdict? In a nutshell – men are clueless.

83% of the women surveyed agreed with the statement that “there are differences between how men and women shop when they do the regular grocery shopping.” And, by “differences”, they mean “my way is better.”

Nearly 90% of the women said they pay more attention to grocery coupons and ads than men do. 77% said women are more interested in saving money when they shop for groceries. And 66% said women simply enjoy grocery shopping more than men do. When asked to describe how men shop, 77% said men are more interested in saving time than money at the grocery store. 74% said men are less likely to compare prices while grocery shopping. And 62% said men are more likely to be impulse buyers than women.

So never mind all the recent reports about the rise of the unfortunately-dubbed “mansumer”, the man of the house who does the bulk of the grocery shopping. Just because men do it, apparently doesn’t mean they’re any good at it. “I have a list. I know what I want. I get it and leave,” one husband and father recently told The Ledger of Lakeland, Florida. “Men don’t like to shop, they like to buy,” dietitian and supermarket consultant Susan Moores concurred to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Of course, these are all generalities. There are men who are good at couponing and saving money, and women who are lousy at it. But there’s no denying that times are changing, and men are doing more of the shopping. Former JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson apparently never got that memo, as evidenced by his grating habit of referring to his customers as “she” (“every product in the store is priced exactly where she likes to buy”) as though no man would ever set foot in a department store. And as a coupon-averse man, he woefully underestimated coupons’ appeal to women, when he disastrously tried doing away with them.

For many women, though, the generalities are true. They cringe at sending their husband to a store with a shopping list and a stack of coupons, only to have the confused lug come home with half the things on the list and the stack of coupons, unused.

For some men who are forced to do the grocery shopping, at least they can retreat to the “man isle” (purposely misspelled, we’re meant to believe), a section of a New York grocery store that got plenty of press last year (read: “The ‘Man Aisle’. Oh, Man.”). The aisle is specifically geared toward men, with a fine selection of products including beer, junk food, deodorant and shaving cream.

If you send your husband out to shop, and that’s what he comes home with, maybe there’s good reason women still do most of the grocery shopping.

3 Comments

  1. Jonathan B says:

    Sexist artist. I’m a male and do 95% of the couponing in my house. Everyone I talk to want to about couponing want to know how I pull it off. I’m also working 10 hours a day, and still manage to come back with 70-90% off our total shopping trip every week. I also know plenty of men that save big too with coupons.

    The question this article started with was interesting, til it became biased half way through.

    • “Of course, these are all generalities. There are men who are good at couponing and saving money, and women who are lousy at it…”

      Kudos to you for bucking the trend – I have no idea why more guys aren’t into couponing, but those who aren’t, are just missing out.

      And remember, the survey asked women their opinions of men’s shopping habits – it didn’t ask men about their own habits. So if it seems biased, blame the women who answered the survey.

    • I am not even sure how you get BOOKS OF COUPONS because you have to pay for news papers to get the coupons !

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