Men and shopping aren’t exactly synonyms, especially in mainstream media where male characters are often stereotyped as decidedly rational creatures who deem the act of shopping a chore unnecessary and bemoan the thought of accompanying their crazed girlfriends to shopping malls.

While there is some truth to this generalization, one can’t help but wonder what its ramifications are in the global market.

Demand and supply play a crucial role in determining market saturation.

The female gender comprises the largest consumer base in the world; ergo, women’s products outnumber those of men in terms of quantity, style, product type, brands, and even colours.

Consider, for instance, your local shopping centre.

Upon close inspection, you would find that women’s stores not only exceed in number but also vastly differ in appearance.

Visual merchandisers leave no stone unturned in making sure that women’s shopping outlets look like they’re straight out of a Bollywood set. Retail stores, in turn, profit off of the fact that women are big spenders.

Compare this to men’s shopping outlets which you will find are awfully few in number and/or integrated into other clothing stores: the sight resembles a noir film at best with monochrome color palettes and less than ordinary aesthetic appeal.

Illustration by Richard Kilroy

So, are our beloved counterparts doomed to choose between shades of black while we are spoilt for choice?

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Could ‘pinkification’ be the culprit?

Pink is for girls. Blue is for boys.

As if the difference in genitalia weren’t enough, society took it upon itself to dictate other nonsensical gender distinctions – one of which happens to be color-coding sexes.

Masculinity came to be represented by things that were evocative of coarseness whereas the finer gifts of nature were associated with femininity.

This is why certain prints, patterns, colors and styles are often reserved for one gender. For example, floral prints are commonplace in women’s clothing but are rare to find in men’s sections.

The Economy Story

As mentioned earlier, demand and supply plays a key role in market composition.

The vendors make available a greater number of goods and services for bigger spenders, i.e., women.

Does it extend to other areas of life?

Does the problem of choice, or its lack thereof, exist only in clothing or other places as well?

Let’s take magazines for example. I can name five women’s magazines off the top of my head but can’t seem to think of more than one whose core demographic consists of men.

The same applies to other categories such as grooming products, accessories, etc.

This recurring pattern either suggests that men are low-maintenance or that we simply aren’t catering enough to men’s interests.

Are Things Changing?

With the rising difference in how we perceive gender and the casting out of pre-existing norms, things are definitely taking a turn for the better.

A plethora of companies are now coming forth with products and services which accommodate the needs and interests of every gender.

It’s only a matter of time before inclusivity becomes the new norm and the present, a thing of the past.

Nonetheless, this information opens up a whole new market for budding entrepreneurs to exploit.

Until then, which shade of black would you prefer, men?

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Bloomberg, Digital Media Solutions, Citizen

Find the blogger: @microrgasm

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