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A Look at Men’s Online Grocery-Shopping Behavior


Author: Diana Medina

Source: Progressive Grocer

While it’s understandable that long-established gender-marketing paradigms are influencing current ecommerce engagement strategies, simply presuming that men’s online shopping activity mirrors their brick-and-mortar behaviors could cost retailers, big time.

Inmar Analytics recently surveyed 2,000 online grocery shoppers to better understand their motivations, major concerns and overall mindset when it comes to purchasing their groceries online. The results make it clear that marketers should take a fresh perspective on who to target with ecommerce, and how best to meet their needs.


Forty-five percent of the online grocery shoppers surveyed were men – a larger contingent than many attuned to this channel would have anticipated. With more men living alone, leading single-adult households with children or taking on their full share of family responsibilities, males are emerging more and more as the primary purchase decision-makers and shoppers. In fact, the Inmar survey found that 65 percent of male online grocery shoppers do most or all of the shopping for their households.

Recognizing this break from traditional shopper demographics, retail brands should consider the following ways to engage male shoppers to increase their online sales.


When asked why they initially tried online grocery shopping, 53 percent of men reported that they did so because they “wanted the convenience.” Twenty-five percent said they had a free trial and/or discount that led them to make their first purchase(s).

That same mindset is driving their ongoing online grocery shopping, with 29 percent of men saying they now choose ecommerce because they can shop for groceries whenever they have the time, there are no crowds (29 percent) and they don’t have to wait in line to check out (25 percent).

To attract male shoppers to grocery ecommerce, retail brand marketers should highlight the platform features that provide convenience, such as quick reorder, subscribe and save, and last-mile fulfillment. This is also a good time to test and track different convenience messaging with specific male consumers.

Collect initial data on what type of convenience – such as 24-hour shopping, no crowds or no lines – resonates most with the individual. Combine these messages with a free trial offer, discounted subscription or a gifted subscription to spark action.  


Male shoppers are as likely as female shoppers to plan their meals ahead of time. Sixty-eight percent of both genders responded that they plan their meals in advance.

The men in the survey commonly turned to outside resources, such as meal-planning services (26 percent) and meal kits (26 percent), for help with planning their meals. A particularly attractive opportunity among men may be in prepared and semi-prepared meals. When asked if they would add these purchases to their online grocery order, if available, 53 percent of male survey participants responded “yes.”

Retail brand marketers can increase engagement with men around meal occasions by testing and promoting programs that upsell convenient meals. This could include curated food and beverage kits and multi-meal packs that blend prepared and semi-prepared meals into one weekly meal-plan purchase.

The men from our survey were 41 percent more likely than women to have purchased alcohol online. Therefore, it’s important to consider how adult beverages fit within the meal experience.  


The men participating in the survey showed themselves to be valuable online grocery shoppers for retailers. Two-thirds (67 percent) of surveyed men reported that they spent between $50 and $200 during a typical online shopping trip. In addition, roughly 30 percent of male online grocery shoppers surveyed spend 25 percent or more of their total monthly grocery bill online.

Even with men already shopping for groceries online regularly, that purchase activity is poised to increase. About 31 percent of males surveyed by Inmar indicated that the frequency of their online shopping would increase over the next year.

The outlook for grocery ecommerce is universally optimistic, but exactly where and how that growth will occur is still a matter of some debate. What’s certain, however, is the need for retail brands to leverage the subtle – and not-so-subtle – differences between men and women in regard to their online grocery-shopping behavior. If marketers can determine who is “pushing" the cart, and where they’re taking it, then sellers can be there to meet them.

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