Gender and Internet Shopping

Less in the Pink Than You Might Think

No, it’s not that the rate of internet shopping has fallen off. It’s that in cyberspace, women, who in the popular imagination make up the vast majority of shoppers, are substantially outnumbered—and substantially outspent—by men.

Reviewing the latest PayPal data from the United Kingdom, Charlotte Cowell notes that “men in the UK spent an average of £672 [$1115] more online than women over the last six months.” And the trend toward male domination of cyberspace is evident is other numbers as well. “Over 12.9 million men shop online today compared with 10.3 million women, and almost twice as many men than women are joining the army of online shoppers each year.”

Even more surprising, not only did men spend significantly more thanwomen on travel and financial services, they also “spent more on furniture and housewares (£257 compared with £231)”—and, believe it or not, more on health and beauty products (£106 compared with £91). Women outspent men only on groceries.

Cowell quotes Carl Scheible, managing director of PayPal UK: “The online revolution has turned men into shopaholics. We love the quick and efficient nature of the internet, especially when it come to buying technology and gadgets.” Certainly, concludes Cowell, the male “love affair with online shopping looks set to accelerate.” More than 40% of male shoppers “plan to do as much of their shopping as possible online”; fewer than 30% of women shoppers say the same.

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