Men vs Women: Online Shopping Behaviour

Who runs the online shopping world?

24 May 2021

While the saying ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ may not adequately explain gender differences, years’ worth of research on the subject certainly does.

When it comes to shopping and what drives decision-making behaviour, there’s no denying men and women take different approaches. And over the years, as online shopping has boomed, marketers and advertisers have learned to use this knowledge to influence customer purchasing habits.

Most people would assume that the world of retail is dominated by women, and understandably so. Men perched on benches with glazed-over eyes are common features in malls, but according to a recent study, men drive nearly as much (if not more) spending online as women do.

Understanding the subtle (and not-so-subtle) gender tendencies that drive online buying behaviour can help you as an e-commerce retailer to maximise your sales. Here’s what you need to know about gender-specific shopping traits – and how you can use this information to target your ideal customer.

Behavioural shopping traits – here’s what we know:

Men and women have different brains (sort of).

Studies have shown that male and female brains do have physical differences. It’s these differences that allow women to use both sides of their brains to solve problems quicker, where men tend to use the left or ‘logic’ side of their brains.

Therefore, when shopping, men are task-oriented compared to women who are more likely to browse before buying.

Men and women make decisions differently.

When it comes to choosing a product or service, each gender takes its own approach. Women tend to be more comprehensive, taking into consideration both subjective (customer reviews) and objective information (product features or specifications). On the other hand, men will favour the latter, using their own experiences to form an opinion rather than relying on the opinions of others.

Men and women have different motives.

Research shows there are underlying motivations that trigger different behaviours in men and women. Because men predominantly use the logical side of their brain when shopping, their motives are more utilitarian – they shop to get the job done. Women want to know more – about your brand and how the product you sell is going to make them feel.

What are men and women shopping for?

Broken down by category, here’s a list of what men shop for more than women:

  • Computer and tech: 39% versus 18%
  • Travel and accommodation: 37% versus 35%
  • Household items: 32% versus 30%
  • Event tickets: 27% versus 26%
  • Media, movies and music: 22% versus 16%

And here’s what women shop online for more than men:

  • Clothes and sporting goods: 46% versus 14%
  • Books, magazines and educational resources: 25% versus 23%
  • Groceries: 18% versus 14%
  • Medicine: 10% versus 8%

So, what does this all mean for your online store?

There’s opportunity in understanding what drives the online shopping behaviour of your target market. The more you know about your customers and what they’re looking for in an online shopping experience, the better you can deliver on their expectations – while boosting your sales.

If your primary target audience is male, here’s what you can do:

Invest in paid advertising. Because men tend to only shop when they need something, paid advertising will help ensure your brand appears when they’re searching for the products you sell.

Use facts and data in product descriptions. Research shows that men want to be as informed as possible when buying a product online – that means detailed product descriptions. Explain why they should buy your product by focusing on product features and specifications.

Simple, functional user experience. When shopping, men prefer a ‘no faff’ approach. From a design perspective, this could look like clear navigation by product categories, simple landing-page layouts, and individual product images.

For female target audiences, here’s what you should do instead:

Use email marketing. Reach and win over female shoppers in their inboxes with targeted email marketing campaigns. Don’t focus solely on the product, rather aim to educate or inspire. Coupons or discount codes will appeal to those looking for bargains.

Gather testimonials and reviews. Women often rely on customer testimonials and reviews when making a purchasing decision. The more, the merrier – after customers receive their products, send them an email asking for a review or rating.

Sell your brand. When advertising to women, finding ways to engage and build a personal relationship with them is crucial. That’s because women want to connect with a brand on an emotional level before handing over their hard-earned money.

Get to know your customers

Well, there you have it – men and women do shop differently and for many different reasons. But while there are distinctive differences that separate men and women in the world of online shopping, this is just the first step in understanding customer preferences. Everyone has their own motives and expectations. Get to know your customers and what drives their shopping behaviour – only then will you be able to effectively meet their demands.

Contact the experts at Solutionists today about tailored eCommerce solutions that speak directly to your target audience.



date published:

24 May 2021