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GfK Study Finds Women More Likely to Use Mobile Devices to Shop than Men

Euromonitor recently reported that American men are spending more money than ever on accessories, like ties, belts, watches and small leather goods, pointing out that e-commerce is the preferred shopping channel for most male consumers. However, a new GfK study has found that women are far more inclined to shop on their smartphones or tablets, meaning that men’s e-spending habits rarely stray from their desktop or laptop computers.

According to the market research firm’s “FutureBuy 2015” report, 32 percent of women were more likely overall to use mobile devices, versus 22 percent of men—and the majority of those connected consumers were likely on the young side. Generation Z shoppers, which GfK defined as those aged 18 to 24, dropped dollars on mobile at four times the levels of Baby Boomers, who ranged in age from 51 to 68.

In fact, smartphones held 33 percent of Gen Z-ers’ online dollar spend, compared with just 8 percent of Boomers. Somewhat surprisingly, however, tablets made up 13 percent of both generations’ online shopping activity.

Based on interviews with 25,000 shoppers globally (including 1,000 in the U.S.), GfK discovered that 40 percent of consumers aged 25 to 34, also known as Generation Y, preferred to buy on desktop computers, followed by laptops (39 percent) and smartphones (31 percent).

Despite the small age difference, Gen Z’s preferences differ wildly, with smartphones leading the charge at 34% and laptops (33 percent) and desktops (32 percent) taking the number two and three spots.

Boomers, meanwhile, strongly favored shopping on desktop and laptop computers, at 42 percent and 43 percent respectively. Just 7 percent said they preferred using smartphones.

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GfK Says Gen Y and Z shoppers diverge often

Other notable findings showed that Gen Y and Z differed in their reasons for choosing to buy online: Gen Z shoppers were more likely to be motivated by better pricing and word-of-mouth recommendations, while Gen Y-ers did so because they got better information, more delivery options and could buy multiple things at the same time.

When it came to in-store purchases, Gen Z buyers said they got more information at a brick-and-mortar location, compared with Gen Y shoppers who said it was easier than buying online.

“We are used to seeing younger shoppers lumped together in contrast with their Baby Boomer parents,” Joe Beier, executive vice president of GfK’s shopper and retail strategy team, stated. “But there are some important differences between the two ‘halves’ of the Millennial cohort; in certain areas, we see Gen Y tending toward the ‘old-school’ ways of the Boomers—but in others, they seem equal to their younger brothers and sisters in Gen Z.”