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There’s a Gender Gap in Shopping That Retailers Have to Conquer

Men aren’t shopping online as much as women—and they’re much more likely to choose a full-price brick-and-mortar store than the Internet to make purchases.

According to a new study on retail disruption conducted by First Insight, a solutions provider that helps retailers make informed pricing decisions, there is a significant gender gap between how men and women shop and spend.

These finding come as the retail industry responds to disruptors like mobile shopping, Amazon, discount retail and artificial intelligence (AI). The study found that touch and feel were the main purchasing drivers for men, as 44 percent of male respondents wanted to visit a store to experience the hand of the merchandise, whereas only 33 percent of women shared the same opinion. And more men would choose shopping at a full-priced store (42 percent) over a discounter (18 percent), the study showed, whereas more women preferred discount (38 percent) over full-priced (31 percent).

“The fact that men are less inclined to shop online overall and prefer to go in-store is a significant finding,” Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight, said. “Particularly as retailers consider how to align their in-store selection and pricing to meet consumer appetites.”

The gender gap extends to mobile as well. Only 22 percent of men surveyed reported using mobile devices to shop, compared with the 40 percent of women who claimed to engage in mobile shopping. And 67 percent of the male respondents made two or fewer purchases on a mobile device in the month before the survey, while 62 percent of women did the same, with only 14 percent of men reporting making five or more purchases in the past month versus 22 percent of women.

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Even when it comes to Amazon, the gender gap persists. The study also found that only 46 percent of men are regularly shopping on Amazon, while 60 percent of women frequently shop the e-commerce giant. And fewer men subscribe to Amazon Prime (43 percent) than women (54 percent). The majority of women reported an increase in their shopping habits on Amazon in the past year (55 percent), as opposed to men (48 percent).

Comparison shopping behavior exposes yet another gender gap. Men are doing less comparison shopping online than women. Only 21 percent of men usually use mobile devices to compare prices while they’re in the stores as opposed to 31 percent of women. And while 54 percent of men reported doing price comparison on before buying someplace else, 67 percent of women did so. But the study did find that men who owned devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home were more likely to use those gadgets to compare prices (53 percent) than women who did (46 percent).

One sector that seems to be attracting more men, the study found, is online discount retailers. Thirty percent of men surveyed frequently shopped at online discount retailers compared to 22 percent who actually walked into the off-price stores.