Insights on Metrosexuality and Consumption for Marketers in South-East Europe

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Vasileios Magklaras
Kapoulas, Alexandros
Miaoulis, George
Xharavina, Natyra
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IJMR Publisher, member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
This article explores the emergence of metrosexuals among millennial men in five South-East Europe (SEE) countries and their subculture of consumption. It qualitatively studies their beliefs about masculinity and metrosexuality, and it identifies their purchasing behaviours’ of grooming products online and offline by employing digital extended self-theory to provide strategic guidance for marketers and new insights for academics. This qualitative study includes ten semi-structured in-depth interviews and one hundred qualitative open-ended questionnaires. Additionally, it employs netnography to analyze the subculture of consumption of male metrosexuality in two representative blogs. The findings reveal that SEE millennial men embrace a dual identity, a traditional masculine identity, which co-exists with their metrosexuality, creating an emotional conflict as they differ along an accepted to extreme continuum. Metrosexual men are heavy users of personal grooming products favouring online purchasing (1) due to the frequent lack of retail availability in SEE countries and (2) their sense of embarrassment––the underlying emotional conflict. This study directly challenges the existing academic literature, which supports the dominance of traditional masculine identity among developing countries. For both marketers and academics, it presents a different market reality. Metrosexual males show a distinctly different self-identity online from offline. Social media provides them with a safe space, which is often subject to public embarrassment in offline settings. These findings have note-worthy implications for marketing practitioners including communication messaging, social media strategy, brand identity and presence, and product development. They provide insights for both practitioners and academics regarding the subculture of consumption of metrosexuals in the historically macho male-dominated SEE regions.
Magklaras, V., Kapoulas, A., Xharavina, N., & Miaoulis, G. (2023). Insights on Metrosexuality and Consumption for Marketers in South-East Europe. International Journal of Market Research, 65(5), 622-641.