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Men continue to dominate e-commerce usage

23 September 2011 - 10:35 by Sarah Collinson

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More men than women are using e-commerce, according to a study conducted in Australia over the past four years.

Measurements taken between 2007 and 2011 suggest that men have increased the amount they spend via safe shopping online to almost £156 in a given month, up from £117 at the start of the project.

The figures suggest that over the same period women have actually cut e-commerce spends to £106 this year, while back in 2007 they had a roughly equivalent average spend when compared with males.

According to the project's spokesperson, Stuart Ewing, there was a 17 per cent gap between the genders when it comes to the amount spend via safe shopping online in 2009. By the end of 2011 it is anticipated that this could rise to 46 per cent.

Of course the statistics do not show that men are necessarily shopping more regularly than women and spending more, but rather suggest that males head to e-commerce sites when they want to buy a product while females are more inclined to hit the high street.

What should concern retailers most is the idea that women are actually spending less cash than they were in the past on web-based outlets. This implies that e-commerce sites and services are failing to match up to consumer expectations and thus resulting in a return to bricks and mortar stores.

One thing which researchers believe causes this gender divide is in-store reward schemes. Women are encouraged to shop on the high street because big stores like Boots reward them for doing so and continue to support their loyalty with discounts and offers, while the same features may not be transferrable to online outlets.

This indicates that retailers who operate multichannel schemes will benefit from creating rewards for consumers so that they want to stay loyal both online and off.