Study: Men less willing to shop online

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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Only 22% of male respondents reported frequently shopping on mobile devices compared to 40% of women.

Men are not embracing online shopping as much as women and are more likely to shop in-store at full price retailers, according to a new report.

New research from First Insight shows that only 22% of male respondents reported frequently shopping on mobile devices compared to 40% of women, and only 46% of men are frequently shopping on Amazon versus 60% of women.

The study points to a significant gender gap between how men and women shop and make purchase decisions as the retail industry responds to disruptors such as mobile shopping, Amazon, discount retail and artificial intelligence (AI). Forty-four percent of male respondents cite being able to touch and feel a product as a main driver that takes them in-store, a sentiment shared by only 33% of women respondents. Further, according to the survey, men are much more likely to shop at full-priced retailers (42%) over discount retailers (18%), while women are more likely to shop at discount retailers (38%) over full-price (31%).

“The data has unearthed a significant gender gap between how men and women shop and make purchase decisions,” said Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight. “These new disruptive technologies and the growth of discount retailers are making the majority of shoppers more price-sensitive. The fact that men are less inclined to shop online overall and prefer to go in-store is a significant finding, particularly as retailers consider how to align their in-store selection and pricing to meet consumer appetites.”

Other significant findings of the survey include:

Men are making fewer purchases online than women

According to the findings, not only are men shopping less frequently than women on Amazon and mobile devices, they are making fewer purchases. Sixty-seven percent of male respondents made two or less purchases on a mobile device in the month prior to the survey, versus 62% of women, and 22% of women made five or more purchases in the last month versus only 14% of men. Further, the majority of women (55%) said their shopping on Amazon has increased in the past year, versus 48% of men. Additionally, fewer men subscribe to Amazon Prime (43%) versus women (54%).

Overall, fewer men than women are price comparing online before they buy

Only 21% of men frequently use mobile devices to compare prices while in a physical store versus 31% of women, and 54% of men say they check on for products and prices before shopping elsewhere versus 67% of women. However, among respondents who own smart speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, more men (53%) than women (46%) say they have used it to research prices, but women are still driving adoption as 12% said they were likely to purchase a smart speaker in the next year versus only six percent of men.

Fewer men than women shop in-store at discount retailers, but online discount shopping is increasing with men

Top discount retailers are seeing a decidedly female in-store clientele. Only 13% of men surveyed frequently visit TJ Maxx versus 30% of women. Marshalls is slightly more popular with men with 14% frequently visiting (versus 26% of women). Only 13% of men frequently shop at Home Goods versus 18% of female respondents.

However, online discount retailers seem to be gaining traction with men, as 30% of male respondents frequently shop at online discount retailers compared to 22% at traditional discount retailers. Women, alternatively, show roughly the same increases between online discount and traditional discount retail at 29% and 30% respectively.

First Insight’s findings are based on a targeted sample of 1,000 respondents. The survey was fielded in December of 2017, and was completed through proprietary sample sources amongst panels who participate in online surveys.