The myth of the mansumer: Men, women display similar shopping habits


While it may be true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, new data collected by The Future of Commerce and hybris software reveals that gender differences don’t have much effect when it comes to shopping.

The “Myth of the Mansumer” study, which surveyed more than 1,700 consumers, found that the differences between men and women (at least when it comes to shopping) are virtually non-existent. Thanks to online shopping and retailers taking an omnichannel approach, technology appears to be bringing the era of the “Mansumer” to a close just a few short years after the term was coined for the first time in 2012.

Customer Service Matters

When it comes to shopping in-store, both genders vehemently agree that long lines to check out hinder their enjoyment when it comes time for some retail therapy. Here’s what the data tells us:

  • Almost 52 percent of consumers are more likely to shop at stores where employees are equipped with tablets or mobile devices
  • 55 percent prefer self-checkout

Almost 40 percent say that waiting to check out is their biggest complaint and unhelpful sales associates also add to their dissatisfaction. Arming sales staff with technology and product knowledge (content is king) can go a long way toward improving the experience.

We already know that consumers want to check online to see if an item is available before they go shopping, and we also know that most brands aren’t equipped to make that happen. According to the “Mansumer” study, limited inventory is a cause of dissatisfaction for 17 percent of all shoppers across both genders. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again now: omnichannel matters.


Everyone loves the Internet

In contrast to the in-store experience, 34 percent of men and women say their customer-service experience with online retailers has improved over the last three years. In addition, more than half say they shop more frequently today than they did 12 months ago and that they prefer to purchase books, movies and electronics online.

With subscription services like BirchBox, LootCrate, NatureBox, Dollar Shave Club and StitchFix taking hold of the collective consumer imagination, now more than ever brick and mortar stores need to step up their game. Soon, you’ll never even need to leave the house to make all your purchases. Combine the success of these businesses with the fact that 49 percent of people surveyed said that they by online from large retailers more than they did just a year ago, and you have a clear message—it’s time to differentiate.

The Mall Isn’t Dead Yet

Despite the prevalence of online shopping, the Internet offers its own challenges for both genders. According to the “Mansumer” study, both men and women cite the following concerns:

  • 22 percent of shoppers cite slow delivery as an issue
  • 20 percent have security concerns
  • 16.7 percent find retailer websites slow or difficult to navigate
  • 97 percent prefer to shop for groceries in-store

Similar But Different

While men and women share similar thoughts about shopping online and customer service in-store, there are some differences between the genders when it comes to shopping behavior.

Women are more likely to be influenced by social media prior to making a purchase than men, and men are more likely to expect a sales associate to be able to assist with requests, both in-store and online. Men are also more likely than women to do significant research prior to making a purchase.

Omnichannel Doesn’t Have A Gender

Overall, when it comes to shopping, men and women have increasingly high expectations when it comes to customer experience. Brands that want to engage both genders should:

  • Make it easy to get information about brands, products and purchases both online and in-store, via sales associates and technology
  • Stop looking at stereotypical gender differences and instead mine data to create a unique, one-to-one relationship with each consumer
  • Offer the same high-quality and consistent experience across all channels

For more, download our report and infographic.

Amy Hatch
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November 25, 2014
Amy Hatch

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