Women and Men as Consumers
Consumer habits: Men vs. women
“Men buy, women shop” (Wilder 2007). This statement succinctly sums up the differences between the sexes and their approach to consumerism. Women shop as a social experience for pleasure, men view entering a store as a goal-directed activity. This is immediately seen in how retailers lay out stores, depending on whether the store is primarily directed at womens shopping habits or mens shopping habits. For example, “women are happy to meander through sprawling clothing and accessory collections or detour through the shoe department. They like to glide up glass escalators past a grand piano, or spray a perfume sample on themselves on their way to, maybe, making a purchase. For men, shopping is a mission. They are out to buy a targeted item and flee the store as quickly as possible” (Wilder 2007).
Setting up a store so that premium items are hard-to-find is a more effective strategy when selling to women. Women are willing to take a detour to their destination, and are more likely to impulse shop. If a man cannot find what he wants, he is more likely to simply give up and go elsewhere. Even when shopping by his own free will, men prefer more “obvious” displays: “If the [male] shopper is a wine connoisseur, for example, hell feel more in his element at one of the stores organized tastings — with merchandise on hand, of course — than he would simply sifting through racks of clothes” (Poggi 2008).
Retailers can increase their sales figures if they are mindful of gender differences. For example, the view of shopping as a social experience vs. A goal-directed activity with the sole purpose of making a purchase is also reflected in the priority given by the genders as to what constitutes good service. According to a 2007 study conducted by the Wharton School of Business, a “lack of help” was the reason women were most frustrated in a store, and “about 6% of all female shoppers could be lost to stores due to lack of sales help” (Wilder 2007). Men, ranked the “difficulty in finding parking close to the stores entrance” as their number one problem and the “problem most likely to result in lost business from men is if the product they came to buy is out of stock; about 5% of all male shoppers could be lost to stores for this reason” (Wilder 2007). Men were most upset when sales associates would not check in the storeroom for items they were searching for, while women rated poor interpersonal skills as the reason they rated their sales experience as unsatisfactory (Wilder 2007).
These trends were most obvious in consumers over the age of 40 (Wilder 2007). In younger consumers, however, such trends held less hard and fast. “We are seeing more men shopping alone or with their buddies” noted one retailer and surprisingly, according to the NPD Group, a retail market research firm, sales in mens apparel increased 1.6% in July,.