Differences in Shopping Habits & Buying Decisions with men and women

The goal of every retailer is to:

  • Attract shoppers into their store
  • Make shoppers stay in the store longer
  • Influence shoppers buying decisions
  • Turn shoppers into returning customers

The Differences Between Women and Men

Even though both sexes are capable of equivalent intellectual performance, there are numerous physical differences between male and a females brain:

  • Women have a thicker corpus callosum, the bridge of nerve tissue that connects the left and right side of the brain, leading women to use both sides of their brains to solve problems. Men predominately use the left side of their brains for this purpose.
  • Men have a larger brain size by about 10%, but women have substantially more nerve endings and connections than what men do.
  • Men and women use different areas of the brain for solving tasks. For example, women use their larger, more organised cerebral cortex to perform tasks, while men rely on the larger proportion of grey matter in the left hemisphere of their brains. As a consequence, women are generally better at identifying and controlling their emotions, while men are more task-focused.

These differences enable researchers to attract particular shoppers by aligning marketing messages, advertising, product features, store layouts, displays stands, display equipment by using specific colours, and customer service with the expectations of the desired customers gender and shopping characteristics all play a big role.

The Impact of Purchase Habits

Whether you are a man or a woman, your purchasing decisions are based more on habit than rational decision-making.

Knowing that habit drives most buying decisions and consumer behaviour, companies focus on the initial buying decision to gain an advantage before a habit is established, ensuring their products or services are the beneficiaries of eventual habit formation.

Female Shoppers

A woman’s approach to shopping is very much part of who she is, it is part of her DNA. The way a woman shops, when she is 18 years old, is the same way she is going to shop when she is 43 years old. It is a lifelong mindset. This insight was unexpected, as most observers expected women’s shopping habits to change as they grew older. But it is not so.

Here are 3 types of women:

  • Social Catalysts. This group represents slightly more than one-third of women. They tend to be planners, organisers, take pride in their friendship status, and consider themselves the expert within their social circle. As a consequence, they tend to be “influencers.” Almost 80% of this group think a night on the town is money well spent, but they are likely to seek out bargains to keep up with all the latest trends that are busy happening.
  • Natural Hybrids. This group of stable and poised women represents about one-third of women, slightly less than the social catalyst group. The natural hybrids seem to operate in a continual state of equilibrium. They know there is time and place for everything,  a time to spend, and a time to save. Their approach to shopping falls betweena  safe, practical purchases and splurges. They tend to purchase classic products, long-lasting items that are not so trendy.
  • Content Responsible. This group tends to treat shopping as an errand or chore, rather than a fun experience or an adventure. However, they tend to be lifelong and increasingly loyal customers. 80% do not consider social status an important part of their life. Like most men, these practical, responsible, loyal consumers crave a hassle-free shopping experience.
  • Cultural Artists. Representing slightly more than 1 in 10, women in this group are considered the “super shoppers,” constantly trying different things and starting new trends. They are the group companies actively seek for new products.

Women tend to be more astute consumers than men, simply because they are willing to invest the time and energy necessary to research and compare products. At the same time, their two-sided brain approach to problem solving makes them more susceptible to emotional appeals than a man.

Women are considered better shoppers than men.

Male Shoppers

Men like to get in, get what they need, and get out fast. Men are not major comparison shoppers and they are willing to pay a little more to speed up the process than to spend time hunting down bargains.

Men usually shop alone. Men seldom compare prices. Men do not care if the item is on sale. Men really do not care about the colour. Men sometimes compare quality, but usually only when it involves tools. Stores catering for men understand these tendencies and focus marketing on inventory depth, technical features, and efficient payment processes. Men are less likely to hunt for bargains or use coupons. Men are also more likely to accept a less-than-ideal product, preferring to avoid another shopping trip from having to happen.

What type of shopper are you? How do you make decisions about your purchases?