Gender’s Role in Purchases: I Don’t Mean to Sound Sexist, But…

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You know advertising is vital to a business when a thirty second spot during the Superbowl has no shortage of buyers, even with its multi-million dollar price tag. All consumers reached through ads have the potential to become buyers. So understanding who makes household purchase decisions allows companies to better target their marketing and thus assure the best return on each advertising dollar spent.

One interesting area of consumer research data involves households with both a male and a female decision-maker.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, heterosexual, married couples account for 49% of U.S. households, while additional households are made up of unmarried, male/female couples.

By interpreting their purchase behavior, retailers can decide who it is they should market each of their products to the most.

According to TraQline, our survey of over 500,000 consumers annually, when it comes to purchase decisions there are certain products that fall into male-dominated, female-dominated or joint-decision categories.

Categories Where Women Tend to Make Purchase Decisions

Women account for a large percentage of decisions in a few, key categories. For example:

  • Furniture and Home Accessories: Women are the sole decision makers 53% of the time, followed by a joint decision 27% of the time.
  • Small Appliances: Small appliances show a 51% female lead compared to 31% for men.male & female pictographs
  • Cell Phones: This data likely surprises many people. For most consumer electronics, men made the majority of purchasing decisions. However, for cell phones, women made 38% of the purchase decisions as opposed to only 35% for men.

Categories Where Men Tend to Make Purchase Decisions

Power tools, Lawn & Garden, Auto, and CE top the list of male-dominated categories. Specifically:

  • Power Tools: Men account for 68% of power tool purchases.
  • Lawn and Garden Care: Men account for most purchases related to lawn and garden with 48%. However, women aren’t far behind with 32%.
  • Auto tires and batteries: Men are responsible for 61% of these tire decisions.
  • Consumer Electronics: Overall, men account for 47% of electronic purchases, especially in the areas of video game systems, smartwatches, automotive electronics, and computer peripherals such as printers, monitors, etc. The exception, as mentioned above, is cell phones, where women report making slightly more of the purchasing decisions.

 

 

Categories Where Men and Women Tend to Make Joint Purchase Decisions

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Larger items and purchases that tend to be used by both men and women show a higher percentage of joint decision making. Categories of goods that are predominantly joint decisions include:

  • Kitchen and Bath Improvement: This category includes cabinets, countertops, faucets, sinks, etc. 41% of respondents said these are joint purchase decisions, with the remainder spread equally between men and women.
  • Flooring: Flooring purchases tend to be joint decisions 47% of the time, with women edging out men 28% – 25% when the decision is made individually.
  • Mattresses: Joint decisions narrowly surpass those made by women alone, 52% – 41%.

Other categories show a large percentage of joint decisions, falling slightly behind those made unilaterally by men or women.

  • Large Appliances: Men make decisions 37% compared to 33% jointly.
  • Furniture: Women account for 43% of purchases with 38% being joint purchases.

Conclusion

When it comes to household purchase decisions as a whole, men and women tend to share responsibility equally. However, there are certain categories which favor one gender or the other. Knowing where to focus marketing efforts based on who’s making purchase decisions allows retailers to maximize advertising investments and increase sales. Using consumer behavior data to identify specific customer bases allows retailers to develop strategies that more effectively target these groups.

 

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