Survey: Men Outpacing Women in Online, Offline Shopping

Men also more likely to turn to tech to research prices
A man shops for clothing

There’s a common, arguably stereotypical, assumption that women love to shop more than men. However, a recent study may be proving that notion wrong as men increasingly turn to technology to satisfy their own buying impulses.

Men are not only more likely to shop online than women, but they are also more likely to turn to technology to guide their shopping decisions, according to a study by market research company First Insight. To glean the data, First Insight surveyed 1,000 respondents in two surveys over the course of two years.

Men who participated in the surveys estimated their online shopping frequency had increased by 3% between 2017 and 2018, while women respondents noted that their online shopping frequency had gone down 6% during that time frame.

Amazon was the recipient of much of the increased shopping among men. Approximately 53% of men said they shopped on Amazon six or more times each month, compared to 45% of women who shopped at the online retailer that often. In addition, 60% of men said they made more purchases on Amazon in 2018 than the year before, compared to 52% of women. Both men and women are more likely to look to Amazon before checking other retailers, with 69% of men saying they look to Amazon.com first before buying elsewhere compared with 63% of women.

Men are also more likely to embrace high-tech methods of researching products. Men (47%) are more likely than women (36%) to own smart speakers. Of those who own the devices, 70% of men use them to research product prices compared to 46% of women.

When it comes to making purchases with mobile devices, women were the early adapters, but men appear to be catching up. In 2017, nearly half of men (48%) reported never making mobile purchases, but by the end of 2018, that percentage was down to 18%. Women’s usage of mobile devices to make purchases, however, has stayed largely the same, with 21% saying they never made mobile purchases in 2017 and 19% saying they never made mobile purchases in 2018.

As brick-and-mortar retailers continue to grapple with the threat of online shopping to their businesses, it’s interesting to note that men were also more likely to shop offline than women. A quarter of men surveyed said they shopped six or more times per month at mass department stores compared to 15% of women who did so.

Technology not only adds convenience to the shopping process by letting you buy items from home, but can also help you shop smarter. By using your smartphone or computer to check prices and gather other information, you can save money and make better buying decisions regardless of whether you ultimately buy from an online or offline retailer. And as for that stereotype of women outshopping men on a regular basis, well, it looks like that can be thrown under the cart.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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