Does Gender Sway Shopping Behaviors And Preferences?

  • August 5, 2015 at 11:45 AM EDT
  • By Alicia Esposito
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The saying goes: “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” But does gender influence shopping behaviors and preferences?

New research from Interactions indicates that it does — to a certain extent. The most notable differences are that women are more prone to making impulse purchases and inviting others to shop with them. They also are more likely to purchase products marketed toward the opposite gender for their own use (46% vs. 25%).

Across the board, mobile commerce and payment adoption still is relatively low. However, survey results indicate that men are more likely to leverage their smartphones and tablets during the browsing and buying process. For example, 44% of men who use mobile wallets have left a store without making a purchase because the retailer didn’t accept the payment option. Conversely, only 34% of women did the same. Surprisingly, even fewer consumers use mobile apps to shop: Nearly 10% of men said they purchased items through a retailer’s mobile app, while only 2% of women did the same.

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Despite these subtle differences, men and women expect the same level of service, especially while shopping in stores. For example, the majority of men (67%) and women (64%) said they have purchased additional items because store associates recommended them. Some shoppers even prefer consulting an associate to using technology. In fact, 39% of men and 37% of women said they prefer learning about new products from employees rather than researching them on their own.

But that doesn’t mean technology can’t help augment the customer journey. Up to 44% of men and 39% of women believe receiving mobile alerts while shopping in a store can help create a better experience.

At the end of the day, a poor service experience can a negative effect on retail sales. Confirming this point, more than half of men (53%) and women (52%) have stopped shopping at a retailer because of a poor experience with an associate.

Keeping the above findings in mind, retailers should focus on catering to both genders in order to boost overall sales and loyalty.

“Our poll of U.S. shoppers indicated that prior assumptions are no longer true that males shop entirely differently than females, and likewise that females shop entirely differently than males,” said Lance Eliot, VP of Information Technology with Interactions. “Retailers that catered to shoppers based on gender should rethink their approach. Specifically, one area that both males and females reported was a key factor for their in-store and online shopping is price. Based on our survey results, price is at the forefront of shopper behavior, regardless of gender.”

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