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eCommerce and Gender

Understanding Gender and eCommerce

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Men and women have shopped differently for generations, well before the first eCommerce store launched. While it’s easy to translate the differences in retail settings, (low height shelves in women’s stores, hands-on product displays in men’s stores) for some retailers making the transition online has been more difficult when it comes to optimizing their online shopping experience for their targeted gender.

Here are some of the ways the tendencies of the different genders affect eCommerce…

      • More men are online, but women shop more – A little over 50% of the internet population is men yet 58% of eCommerce revenue comes from women. Men generally complete more transactions online while women have a higher average order value.
      • Women shop for fashion, men for technology – 29% of women shop online for shoes, clothing and accessories, almost double the percentage of men (17%). Women also spend more than twice as much online in these categories compared to men. 10% of men shop online for computer hardware, only 4% of women do.
      • Men and women prefer different color designs – It’s no secret that site design effects user-experience and conversions, but what colors do men and women prefer? Research from Newcastle University shows the universal color preferred by both genders is blue, but women prefer more of a purple shade whereas men prefer a green shade.
      • Different genders respond differently to content – This can vary based on product categories but according to one executive in the fashion industry women are more focused on new products, value, and trends whereas men prefer to learn more about products.
      • More men use online payment systems – According to PayPal the majority of their users are affluent males while women prefer to use credit cards. This somewhat re-confirms the previous notion that men want the easiest and quickest online shopping experience possible.
      • QR Code awareness equal between genders – Despite the perception that men are often the “early adopters” of technology, among smartphone owners only 2% more men have used a QR code. Men and women are interested in QR codes but the majority of both genders do not use them frequently.
      • More men shop on PCs, equal on mobile – According to eMarketer men are 6% more likely to shop online using a home desktop PC compared to women. Online shoppers are equal in shopping on smartphones and tablets regardless of gender.
      • Men are more open to Facebook commerce – Recent research from JTW Intelligence showed men were 10% more likely to desire Facebook commerce for their favorite retailers. Men also were 11% more interested in seeing additional shopping opportunities on Facebook than women.

In conclusion, there are many interesting similarities and differences between the purchasing habits of men and women online. In general, men make more purchases and like to be informed about their purchases – an effort to help make the shopping process as smooth as possible. Women make fewer purchases (but spend more) and like new products along with great deals. Both men and women equally use mobile devices including tablets and smartphones to shop online and are interested in eCommerce innovations such as QR codes. Customizing your site, especially if your audience strongly leans towards one gender, can be a beneficial way for online retailers to optimize their development and marketing efforts to increase conversions and site traffic.



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