On the cyber space, women surfers are still in the minority when compare to the men, but gradually the gender gap is closing. This gender gap is more apparent in developing countries, especially where online penetration is still low. Interestingly enough, along the global online population, women occupy the lion’s share of retail shopping scene. In the U.S. online retail market, women are minority in terms of number, but generate 58 percent of e-commerce dollars.
Online Buying Behavior: The Difference between Men and Women indicates that while women enjoy the primary shopping responsibility for the entire family, they dominate only certain segments of the retail space. Women typically spend out 20% more time browsing online retail sites, although their shopping interests may be largely restricted to clothing, jewelry, food items, or consumer durables. On the other hand, the men dominate the sports, automotive, electronics, or online gaming sites and make all buying decisions in such sites. Men spend more time on product reviews, explicit product descriptions or price-comparison sites before making buying decisions.
According to Online Male Shoppers Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, men in the U.S. or European markets dominate the mobile shopping platform and spend substantial amount of time investigating products from their smart devices. Also, women tend to spend more time looking for coupons, discounts, or incentive programs before shopping than men (68% women vs., 60% men).
Research observes that women, generally hasty and impatient, rarely research product information and may fall prey to impulsive buying. In stark contrast, men online shoppers spend more time researching products or services and less time on shopping. Women shoppers engage in social media to discuss products or services with family or friends. For the women online shoppers, the market research is more of a social experience. Moreover, women spend time on chats, forums, or social sites to discuss and make recommendations on products and services.
In Women on the Web How Women Are Shaping the Internet, the author notes that as the e-shopping continues to mature in regions like Asia and Latin America, globally women shoppers will spend much time on retail sites. This research also validates that though both genders are well represented at retail sites across all age groups, the average time that women spend on such sites in about 20% more than the time spend by the males.
In the recent years, the social network engagements have been on the rise for both men and women shoppers, though women spend on average more time on social media for pre-shopping and post-shopping discussions than men. Thus, the women online shoppers show a marked tendency to spend more time on social sites, engaging in e-commerce discourses.
It may be safely concluded that while for men, product review sites take up the maximum online shopping time; for women, the social sites take up the maximum online shopping time.
Thus, products or services targeting male customers may benefit by distributing comparative product reviews or well-researched product literature through paid search channels. When targeting female customers, retailers are likely to gain traffic by sending direct mailers or coupons to the customer inboxes. The collective facts about gender-specific buying behaviors establish that men are more facts or information-oriented while women are more opinion oriented. Also, for a more social mind set, women customers are more likely to enjoy in person customer service to discuss products and exchange opinions.