“There is something new in the aisles of your favorite grocery store: men.”
-San Diego Channel 7 News
It’s sleek, yet robust. It “exudes masculinity,” offering “more power, more steam, more performance.” It “helps men turbocharge,” and from the front, it even looks like a high-performance racing vehicle.
It’s an iron. For ironing.
More specifically, the object described is the Phillips GC4490, the first of its kind—an iron for men. The product at hand is really a pioneer in an emerging modern market caused by well, prolonged singledom (or singledoom, to some of the more frustrated young populace).
People just aren’t getting hitched as quickly as they used to. In the 1960’s, the average 20 year old was married, with a baby on the way at 21.3 In 2012, the average 20 year old had well over 1000 Facebook friends,2 but no one quite friendly enough to inspire matrimony. Nowadays, the average woman now gets married at 27 and the average man at 29. 1
These, self-sufficient later-weds, are living by themselves, shopping for themselves and demanding products that allow them to do so. Companies that realize this and adjust their products to meet these demands are coming out on top, hence the success of the Barbara’s Way toolkit, designed especially for women, and the Phillips Iron for Men, as described above.
The challenge for marketers and product developers is to design and market products suited to the lifestyles of women who repair their own picket fences and men who venture down department-store aisles stocked with fifty different hand-soaps. The market that accommodates these new gender norms is relatively new and developing, and represents a universe of opportunities.
1 Coontz, Stephanie. “Marriage: Saying ‘I Don’t'” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2012. Web. July 2012..
2 Daily Mail Reporter. “Feeling Popular? The Average 22-year-old Has over 1,000 Facebook Friends… That’s 50 times More than Their Parents.” Daily Mail Online. N.p., 24 May 2011. Web. July 2012..
3 Miley, Marissa, and Ann Mack. The New Female Consumer: The Rise of the Real Mom. Rep. Advertising Age White Paper, Sponsored by Meredith, n.d. Web.