Men And Women: Differences In Buying Habits And Purchasing Decisions

John Gray’s 1992 book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” confirmed what men and women have always known: the two sexes differ in outlook, motives, reasons, and actions. Although the reason for the differences (nature or culture) is still debated, study after study reflects similar results, and sophisticated companies have adapted their awareness programs to take these differences into account. Everything from advertising style, messaging and media, to product design, store layout, sales training and customer service policies, is designed to appeal specifically to both genders.

The goal of each retailer is:

  • Attract buyers
  • Make them stay longer in the store
  • Influence your purchasing decisions
  • Turn them into loyal customers

Failure to take gender specificities into account can have real financial consequences for retailers. In a New York Times article published on February 16, 2012, Eric Siegel, consultant and president of the Predictive Analytics World conference, said, “We live in a golden age of behavioral research. It’s amazing how much we can find out about the way people think now. ”

The differences between women and men

Whether (and to what extent) men and women differ has been a controversial issue for years. Many scientists fear that perceived differences have led to discrimination and unfair treatment by assuming that one gender has attributes and the other does not. While there are observable differences between the brains of men and women and the way they process information, the researchers point out that the differences do not reflect the superiority of a single gender.

Additionally, studies indicate that gender-specific characteristics are found across a broad spectrum that contains substantial gender overlap. Trying to accurately stereotype a single person is difficult, if not impossible. In other words, if you choose a man and a woman from the crowd, they could be very similar or different depending on each person’s unique characteristics. However, recognizing the general characteristics of each gender is important for product retailers, especially if their product is designed to primarily appeal to either gender.

Although both sexes are capable of equivalent intellectual performance, there are many physical differences between male and female brains:

  • Women have a thicker corpus callosum, the bridge of nerve tissue that connects the left and right sides of the brain, which causes women to use both sides of the brain to solve problems. Men mainly use the left side of their brain for this purpose.
  • Men have about 10% larger brains, but women have many more nerve endings and connections (white matter) than men.
  • Men and women use different areas of the brain to solve tasks. For example, women use their larger, more organized cerebral cortex to perform tasks, while men rely on the greater proportion of gray matter in the left hemisphere of their brain. As a result, women generally identify and control their emotions better, while men focus more on tasks.

These differences allow researchers to attract individual shoppers by aligning marketing messages, advertising, product features, store layouts and displays (including colors), and customer service with customer expectations and characteristics. purchase of desired customers. Being aware of the influence of your gender on the products you buy and the price you pay can make you a more discerning buyer.

The impact of purchasing habits

Whether you’re a man or a woman, your buying decisions are based more on habit than rational decision making, according to Dr Neale Martin, a professor at the Cole School of Business at State University of California. Kennesaw. Tony Ezell, vice president of Eli Lilly and Company agrees, taking the example of doctors who, acting with their unconscious brains when making decisions, continue to prescribe drugs to which they are accustomed, even when ‘they understand that new drugs are better and take longer. . Once purchasing habits are established, it is difficult to shake them off as it is human nature to resist change.

Knowing that habit determines most purchasing decisions and consumer behavior, businesses focus on the initial purchasing decision to gain an advantage before a habit sets in, ensuring that their products or services are the beneficiaries of the eventual formation of habits. These efforts focus on the following points:

  • Initial stimulation of a need. Millions of dollars are spent every year to motivate shoppers to buy particular products with the belief that the products will make them healthier, richer, safer or more attractive. This is the logic behind specials, coupons, and discounts. In fact, people who experience important events in their lives are particularly vulnerable to new attractions because they often don’t realize or care that their shopping habits have changed. But retailers notice and care a lot. In these unique moments, wrote UCLA professor Alan Andreasen in a 1980s study, clients, men and women, are “vulnerable to intervention by marketers.” In other words, a just-in-time ad sent to a recently divorced person or new owner can change someone’s buying habits for years to come.
  • Influence of third parties. Third party endorsements from friends, social partners or authority figures influence our product selection. Jonah Berger, assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” says, “People often think that contagious products are just luck. But this is not luck. randomly. It’s science. Berger claims that up to half of all buying decisions are based on word of mouth marketing because it is considered more reliable than traditional advertising, even when it isn’t. As a result, retailers are constantly seeking customer approval and recruiting celebrities as product spokespersons to help them get a head start.
  • Personal evaluation. Your decision to choose one product over another is influenced by a number of factors, including the attractiveness of the packaging and the method or convenience of payment. These unconscious factors can influence your decision more than the price or the quality. Understanding why you are buying one item over another helps you make better decisions.

While it would be impractical (and impossible) to systematically assess and objectively determine every purchase, consumers should be aware of the habits that guide their purchasing decisions. In cases where the results are more critical (significant differences in price, quality, durability, convenience or utility), a more rational purchasing process is usually justified to ensure a positive result.

Male and female business stereotypes

Despite nearly equal numbers, according to Bloomberg, women make over 85% of consumer purchases in the United States and are believed to have influence over more than 95% of total goods and services purchased. Women as a whole are seen as more sophisticated buyers than men, and they take longer to make a buying decision.

Marti Barletta, president of The TrendSight Group and co-author of “Just Ask a Woman: Cracking the Code of What Women Want and How They Buy“, explains that men would rather buy a viable product than continue shopping, while that women prefer to continue shopping. buy hoping to find a perfect solution. In other words, women are more selective and more likely to buy a product that meets all of their requirements.

Female buyers
According to a survey carried out in 2007 by the AMP agency, “a woman’s purchasing process is largely part of who she is; it’s part of their DNA. “The way a woman shops at 18 is the same as she does at 43. It is a state of mind that lasts a lifetime. This information was unexpected, as most observers took it for granted. expected women’s buying habits to change as they get older.

The AMP study indicates that women belong to four different mentalities that dictate their respective purchasing habits:

  • Social catalysts. This group represents just over a third of women. They tend to be planners, organizers, take pride in their friend status and see themselves as experts within their social circle. As a result, they tend to be “influencers”. Almost 80% of this group think a night out on the town is money well spent, but they are likely to look for bargains to keep up with the latest trends.
  • Natural hybrids. This group of stable and balanced women represents about a third of women, slightly less than the social catalyst group. Natural hybrids appear to operate in a state of continuous equilibrium. They know that there is a time and a place for everything: a time to pass and a time to save. Her approach to shopping is somewhere between convenient and safe shopping and splurging. They tend to buy classic products: durable items that aren’t too trendy.
  • Responsible for content. About a fifth of women neither set nor disseminate trends. This group tends to view shopping as a run or chore, rather than a fun experience or adventure. However, they tend to be lifelong and increasingly loyal customers. 80% do not consider social status to be an important part of their life. Like most men, these loyal, responsible, and down-to-earth shoppers seek a hassle-free shopping experience.
  • Cultural artists. Representing just over 1 in 10, women in this group are considered the “super shoppers,” constantly trying different things and setting new trends. These are the companies in the group that are actively looking for new products.

Women tend to be smarter consumers than men simply because they are willing to invest the time and energy necessary to research and compare products. At the same time, their bilateral cerebral approach to problem solving makes them more responsive to emotional appeals than a man.

Although women are seen as better buyers, they would benefit if:

  • Prioritization of purchases. Aligning the purchase method and source with the cost and usage of the product saves time and energy. Not all purchases require a marathon store visit or in-depth comparison; Some products are commodities with little difference in utility or price and do not warrant much effort in deciding to buy one item over another.
  • Using Online Shopping Plus Women have fallen behind men in replacing in-store shopping with online shopping, a more conducive environment for product and price comparison. Many e-merchants offer smartphone shopping apps that facilitate comparisons to help consumers select the best product for their purpose.
  • Resistance to impulse buying. Retailers are particularly adept at driving emotional purchases with store layout, display and pricing. As a result, the normal habits of comparison and evaluation are ignored, often to the detriment of the buyer whose impulsively purchased product is of high quality.

Male buyers

A Forbes article suggests that for most men shopping for clothes is like “having a brain operation.” Another study suggests that male grocery shoppers are “like a dog looking for a stray bullet in a field: they frantically cross the field until they stumble upon what they are looking for.” . The same study describes men as “pragmatic buyers”, who see success as “going with what they came for, having gone through a logical and efficient buying process”.

In other words, men like to come in, get what they need, and get out fast. Men are not big comparison shoppers and are willing to pay a little more to speed up the process than to spend time looking for bargains. In the Wall Street Journal, Delia Passi, CEO of consumer advocacy and research group WomenCertified, says that for men the worst outcome is leaving a store empty-handed.

According to Jim Foster, Marketing Consultant and Retail Coach, “Men usually shop on their own. Men rarely compare prices. Men don’t care if the item is on sale. Men don’t really care about color. Men sometimes compare the quality, but usually only when it comes to tools. “Stores serving men understand these trends and focus their marketing on inventory depth, features, and efficient checkout processes. Less likely Men looking for bargains or using coupons Men are also more likely to accept a less than ideal product and prefer to avoid another shopping spree.

Male consumers would benefit from:

  • Be more price conscious and less time sensitive. When shopping for personal products, men should apply the same techniques they use when shopping for businesses: understanding how the product is used, who uses it, what features are needed, and what is offered at different prices. This process takes longer, but results in more efficient product purchasing.
  • By becoming more discriminatory. The growth of e-commerce has spurred new buying behaviors for men that can eventually be transferred to physical stores. According to an iProspect study, 70% of wealthy men regularly shop online and use the shopping methods that women successfully use in the physical world. Ironically, a 2011 Performics Social Shopping study indicates that men are more likely than women to research and compare products online.
    Anticipate future needs. Unlike women who buy based on their future needs (food for the next week, dress for an upcoming birthday), men tend to buy when the need is immediate, limiting the ability to compare or take advantage of discounts. ‘offers or products out of seasonal sales.

Last word

Shopping is the engine of the national economy. Simon Hoggart, a prominent British journalist, says shopping for Americans is a statement of faith in our country. We have a physical, moral and economic reason to buy, but there are no rules that require us to buy or pay higher prices for products that do not fully meet our wants and needs.

what kind of buyer are you? How do you make decisions about your purchases?

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