Who Runs Online Shopping World? Men VS. Women

November 11, 2019

What do user groups like to shop at your online store? Who are the personas you are optimizing your shop for? Have you considered what it means if the majority of your users are male or female?

Anyone involved in eCommerce must provide the best possible user experience for visitors to their store. In order to choose the right form of communication and appropriate context for making purchases, you must have some knowledge of who your customers are. Gender has become a significant defining characteristic of your customer base.

John Gray’s in his famous book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, says  that the “two sexes differ in their perspectives, motives, rationales, and actions.”

This difference has always been the point of particular interest to brands and merchants. And, in today’s article, we will take a closer look at the core online shopping behaviors and dynamics of men and women, backed by research from different experiments.

General Shopping Habits

One should begin their journey into the difference between two sexes by exploring general shopping habits and behaviors. Being aware of differences in shopping habits, behavior and dynamics can help you make the first step in marketing campaign diversification and advertisement targeting.


By 2040, around 95% of all purchases are expected to be via eCommerce. (Source: Nasdaq)


As for the reasons why men and women opt for shopping via the Internet, that is when the differences between sexes manifest themselves.

🧔  According to behavioral studies, while shopping online men tend to be more:

  • focused on the mission; men consider shopping as a common activity with one straightforward goal – purchase;
  • logical – men are largely driven by reason, not emotion or someone’s opinion;
  • reliant on product information – males usually carefully study features of an item before making a decision;
  • resistant to special offers, discounts, and sales, and less frequently take them into account when making the decision to purchase or not;
  • interested in the result – not captivated by the process, men make a purchase as soon as the suitable item is found.

👩  On the other hand, women tend to:

  • enjoy the shopping process as a whole and tend to spend more time shopping online;
  • make up their mind based on reviews and ratings, not specific features of the item;
  • tend to follow trends and fashion, and make the purchasing decision with them in mind;
  • tend to make impulse and unplanned purchases, triggered by advertisement, special offer or sale, personal recommendation, desire to improve mood, etc.;
  • be more selective, searching not for the item they need, but the one that will suit perfectly.

The next crucial aspect for online merchants for building proper interaction with customers of both sexes is understanding HOW they make purchases online and WHAT do they prioritize in their purchase.

HOW Men and Women Shop Online

SOLUTION vs. EXPLORE: Men vs. Women

Men would much rather buy a “workable product”, whilst women would rather continue shopping in the hope of finding the “perfect one.

So, when shopping online, women are more selective and likely to buy a product that fits all their requirements after careful research and comparisons. Men will generally prefer to buy the first product that works.


☝️ Scientific fact!  

Women’s and men’s brains are structurally different:

  • Women use their cerebral cortex to carry out tasks (making women better at identifying and controlling emotions)
  • Men rely on a large portion of grey matter in the left hemisphere of their brains
    (which makes them more task-focused)



Psychological studies have supported the theory that, on the whole, women like to analyze, evaluate and search, whereas men rush to decision-making. Thus, women like to explore web-stores thoroughly whereas men are more goal-oriented (or, psychologically solution-driven) when shopping online.

Content Square found: We can see that the number of pages viewed by women before the final transaction is dramatically higher than among men. At the same time, when men find what they’re looking for, they’re done – the purchase is made and the search is over. 

Image result for men vs women shop


However, there is research from other sources that somewhat conflicts with the above assertions.


For example, research from Inmoment found that “males and females differ in how they utilize a product page: males intensely research the page, viewing all the product details and pictures, while women quickly scan the product page and go to the next product they want.”

Additionally, a survey from Baines & Ernst reveals that 85% of women make compulsive purchases online, which goes against the idea of careful research and controlled emotions when women shop online.

Research by Shoppercetric, a UK-based shopping research company, uncovered that men aged 18-24 “defy most male shopping patterns by browsing — both in retail stores and online — shopping with friends, and rivaling women in the number of impulse purchases as well.”



Men spend more online than women do.
(Source: KPMG)


Of course, things are not so clear-cut and well defined. Although men and women’s online shopping behaviors may be one way among a specific age group, it may be completely different in another age bracket (as has been shown above) or in another country (research above was from the UK – US research may have presented starkly different results).



  • The male/female differences in online shopping behavior do not operate in a vacuum. It is often subjected to influence from a range of other demographic factors (country, age, culture).


DEVICES: Men Shop On Mobile Devices More

Man Sitting on Red Suede Sofa Holding Black Android Smartphone

M-shopping is growing and consumers expect convenient shopping experience.

According to the statistics, men prove to be more technically adept than women in online shopping. 45% of men use a smartphone or a tablet for purchasing online, compared to 34% of women (22% of men compared to 18% for women according to SeeWhy, BI Intelligence report).

So it’s clear, that although more women overall made a purchase online, men drove more sales from smartphone devices than women.

On the other hand, the gap between the percentage of males and females that utilize laptops or PCs for web purchases are not especially wide – 82% of women and 85% of men. Read more here…

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