We are a nation of online spenders. Whilst just over half of UK adults reported buying goods or services over the internet in 2008, this has increased to 76% by 2015 – and rising.
But whilst the majority of adults now regularly shop online, how men and women shop on the internet can differ greatly. So much so that by gathering and looking at the right data, sites can identify their customer's gender by how they shop online.
What men and women buy online
Findings from the Office for National Statistics have revealed that there are some clear differences between what type of products the genders purchase on the internet in Great Britain. The table below reveals these results, showing what percentage of men and women buy certain products online - some expected, but some sure to surprise many:
As the above stats show, a far larger percentage of men purchase video games and electronic equipment online than women – perhaps an anticipated result. However, against much conventional thought, only 2% more women than men purchase clothes or sporting goods online.
This reflects the growth in menswear sales in the UK, predicted to enjoy an annual average sales growth of 14.2% from 2015 to 2020. It also ties in with the fact that more women like to shop for clothes on the high-street; 50% of women compared to 26% of men agree that clothes shopping is “a fun way to pass the time”. Therefore, because more women purchase clothes on the high-street, less shopping will take place online.
How often they buy online
When exploring the frequency with which men and women make an online purchase, the results may again surprise many. In 2015, 18% of women purchased online at least once a week, compared to a whopping 30% of men.
Continuing this trend, whilst 58% of women bought online at least once a month or more, their male counterparts still took the lead with 62%. This again shows the importance for eCommerce sites to cater for their male customers just as much as their female.
The influence of price on buying online
When it comes to searching the internet to find the best bargain, women come on top. Results show that when purchasing online, 77% of women want the best price available – in contrast, 74% of men are driven by this motivation.
Though this margin may seem close, the use of vouchers pulls the genders apart. Whilst 34% of women use coupons, only 26% of men do. And most women don’t seem shy to admit their ‘bargain hunter’ nature - 74% of women will tell others than an item they bought online was on sale – only 57% of men do the same.
The use of smartphones to buy online
From 2014 to 2015, UK mobile shopping sales rose from £14.61bn to £20.09bn – but which gender made up the most of this spend? According to stats by ecommerce-platforms, 45% of men buy products or services via their smartphone, whilst only 34% of women do.
These stats reveal a huge opportunity for marketers to be able to engage both genders through their smartphones as its mobile nature allows them to be reached at any time and in any place – once again reiterating the importance of mobile-optimised sites and campaigns.
Abandonment rate by gender
Abandonment rate, the percentage of customers who leave a site before purchasing the items in their basket, is significantly altered by gender. Whilst 44% of men abandon their basket, 62% of women do the same.
This division could be for a number of reasons. As mentioned above, it could reflect the tendency for more women to search for the best price possible, causing them to place something in their basket – only to find the same item for a better price elsewhere and so leave. Whatever the reason, sites should do all they can to bring these abandoned customers back using onsite engagement as well as offsite retargeting ads and email re-engagement.
Although you won’t be able to identify a user’s gender by their online shopping behaviour on every occasion, the above stats prove that there are clear differences between how the sexes purchase online. Ecommerce marketers should therefore use these trends to inform their marketing decisions and allow them to better engage their customers at every stage of their buyer journey.
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