Traditionally, men have led in purchasing in the eCommerce space, buying digital media, computers and other consumer electronics. However, as more eCommerce sites have expanded their reach to apparel, beauty and items for the kids from clothes to toys and party supplies, the number of shopping transactions by women has outpaced men in most areas.
Though women and men each make up approximately half of internet users, women today account for 58% of all online purchases, and decide 83 – 87% of consumer purchases. According to research from comScore, women spend more money online than men in all but three categories: electronics/computing, event/movie tickets, and flower/greeting cards/gifts.
Women drive the majority of purchases on many sites such as Zappos, Gilt Group, Etsy and Groupon. Additionally, eCommerce companies that focus on a female audience, such as e.l.f. Cosmetics, Boden, Stella & Dot and One Kings Lane are growing quickly.
The rise can be partially attributed the wider availability of products and shopping experiences that women want. Fashion has seen the biggest growth in the past year and is now one of the largest product segments. Other areas that have seen tremendous growth are health & beauty and food, DIY & household products.
And women in the United Kingdom are taking their eCommerce purchasing a step further and leading the market in mobile purchases. Research conducted at OgilvyAction into the mobile behavior of 1,000 UK consumers found that 56% of women own a smartphone, as opposed to 51% of men. It also showed that one in six women had made a purchase on their mobile phone, compared to one in nine men.
Though smartphone ownership among US women has now exceeded that of men, they still fall behind men in mobile purchasing. But as the rise of user-friendly mobile commerce sites continue, it will be interesting to observe the new trends that emerge.
And just as the types of products bought by men and women vary, shopping patterns between genders also vary. Men tend to prefer shorter shopping experiences by searching for what they are looking for and buying the product. Men are more likely to intensely research the product page and read all product details, while women quickly scan the product page and continue browsing other products. Women also tend to search by brand instead of searching by product.
Which prompts the question – are you doing all you can to tap this group of consumers?
To counter these differences in behaviors, it’s wise to ensure that your site is able to be searched and navigated in a variety of different ways. An effective search box that gives extremely relevant results can lead customers right to the product they are looking for. On the flip side, having a navigation that is full of useful refinements allows for a browsing experience that easily narrows down the best products but still allows for a visual and highly-engaging shopping experience. By providing multiple avenues to access products, you’ll create a shopping experience that will appeal to women and men alike.