This month our guest blogger is Web Psychologist and Future Foundation nVoy Nathalie Nahai. Nathalie helps businesses to psychologically optimise for better engagement online. Here she explores the gender differences in online behaviour and the important things brands need to know about consumer engagement.
The personalization of the web is one of the fastest growing online trends, and nowhere is this more prevalent than when we’re shopping. When it comes to ecommerce, there’s one area in particular you need to know about if you want to future-proof your business: the gender differences fueling online behaviours.
Falling under the umbrella of ‘individual psychology’, gender differences in how and why we shop have been well documented in the offline world, and now studies are discovering how these differences translate online. As with any research, it’s never one-size-fits-all, and there will always be exceptions to the rule. But if you’re targeting male and female shoppers, there are three things you absolutely need to know if you want to secure your e-tailing future:
1. Women are more sceptical
In general, women tend to be more sceptical of online information than men ( – 3(6), pp. 565–82), and perceive online shopping as more risky ( 57, pp. 768–75). They’re less likely to part with sensitive information (phone number, address etc), and generally need greater assurance that the site they’re visiting is trustworthy, credible and secure. Men, on the other hand, tend to be less concerned with privacy and are generally more comfortable parting with sensitive information ( – 4258, pp. 36–58).
nVision shows us that:
• 20% of men and 13% of women strongly/agree with the statement: “I don’t/wouldn’t worry about the security of banking on a mobile phone” (Disagree/ strongly: men 58%, women 69%)
2. Men shop online more than women
Believe it or not, men appear to be out-shopping their global female counterparts – and not only on desktops and laptops, but via smartphones too. Whether it’s because they get to avoid the tedium of malls or because it’s easier to do without leaving the comfort of your sofa, the rise of the affluent, online-shopping male is making headlines not only in research (;  – 31(9), pp. 1-15] but also in the wider press (). They’re also spending more on average than women, so if you’re selling your wares online it makes sense to target this market.
nVision data backs this up:
• “How often do you do each of the following internet activities (either on a desktop/laptop, mobile phone or tablet computer)? Buy a product/service online” – at least once weekly: men 41%, women 37%
3. Men do their research
You’ve probably suspected it for a while, but when it comes to online shopping, men really do like to do their research before they buy. Although we all rely on earned media (such as likes, ratings and reviews) to inform our purchasing decisions, it’s men who will go that extra mile to make sure their product really does stand up to scrutiny. And it’s not just adults – research shows that this phenomenon starts young, with boys more likely to refer to the internet before making a purchase than girls. Not only that, but they’re also more likely to be influenced by the reviews and comments they find online than their female peers (.
Turning to nVision, we see:
• 73% of men say “I shop around extensively to get the best deals”
• Our kids research reveals that 37% of boys and 34% of girls have compared prices online/ used a price comparison site
For more information, contact Karen Canty | firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on Nathalie Nahai’s work or her book Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion, visit her website www.thewebpsychologist.com.