Shopping Habits by Gender: What’s Changed in 2020

Do men hate shopping online? Are women more worried about fraud?

Stereotypes abound, but we wanted data. So, earlier this year, ClearSale commissioned Sapio Research to interview 1,000 customers about their online buying behaviors. And what they learned might surprise you.

Existing research has already pointed to some major changes in how men and women interact with e-commerce.

When it comes to making Amazon purchases, men and women are now often neck-and-neck: 10% of both men and women report shopping several times a week, while 16% of each report monthly shopping. The two sexes also tend to have similar purchasing habits when it comes to certain e-commerce categories, like home and furniture items; flowers and gifts; and groceries, food and drink.

However, some differences still exist. Women are still more likely than men to purchase fashion clothing and accessories online (71% vs. 49%), while men are making more technology-based purchases than women (49% vs. 31%).


Categories that I'm likely to purchase online


Even more surprising, recent studies show that men spent $39 billion on luxury items in 2018, while women spent just $28 billion.

But those aren’t the only significant shopping differences between the two.


Who is More Cautious Online? Men or Women?

Women can have a sharp eye when it comes to getting a good deal — and that includes waiting for sales and using coupons. But they’re not willing to sacrifice a secure shopping experience to do so. Men, on the other hand, are much more willing to prioritize a good deal over online security: 35% think getting a good deal is more important than a secure website (only 29% of women feel this way).

And this confidence isn’t reserved just for domestic orders: only 41% of women feel very confident making a purchase from overseas sites, compared with 55% of men.

Is this just because men are luckier and haven’t been as victimized by fraud? Not even close. Almost 45% of the men in our survey have experienced online fraud, versus 40% of women.

While this might lead you to think that men would be the ones championing stricter fraud prevention rules, it seems to be the opposite. Even though men are more at risk for fraud, they also are far more likely than women to believe retailers are being overly cautious about fraud prevention.

And if a merchant’s caution results in a false decline? Men are much less forgiving: 44% of them would never place an order with that merchant again, and 33% would post a comment on social media about it. And what happens when these fraud and false decline rates escalate? E-commerce merchants lose the lifetime value of these customers and risk negative reviews and frustrated social media posts.

That doesn’t mean women are all-forgiving, however. Their cautious nature about fraud means they’re much more likely to boycott a retailer after a fraud experience, which can also mean significant lifetime losses.


Customer reaction: declined transaction vs. fraudulent transaction

The takeaway? It’s vital to ensure your fraud protection is not just robust, but really accurate.


How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Affecting Online Shopping

Although there’s an increased risk that comes alongside shopping online, there’s no indication e-commerce is going to slow down anytime soon.

COVID has transformed the way shoppers go about their everyday lives, regardless of their sex. More than 98% of women are making grocery store purchases online (compared with nearly 95% of men), and even the way we go out to eat has changed, with more than half of men and women reporting they’re ordering their food online and taking it to go.

Thanks to the risk of a second wave of COVID this winter — combined with the risk for seasonal flu — even more shoppers are likely to move online. With 41% of women and 29% of men saying they’re much less likely to go to a shopping mall, merchants can expect to see a dramatic shift in the way consumers do their holiday shopping this year.


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Protecting Against the Risk of Fraud and False Declines

Regardless of whether it’s men or women experiencing more fraud or false declines during a purchase, one thing is clear: Merchants should be doing all they can to avoid these negative experiences and the loss of product, revenue and customer loyalty.

And that’s where ClearSale shines. Our unique approach to fraud prevention — combining advanced artificial analysis with expert human review — results in the highest approval rates and lowest false decline rates in the industry. And because we offer performance-based pricing and chargeback guarantees, you can rest easy, knowing your business is taken care of 24/7/365. To learn more about our award-winning service, contact us today.


Webinar: 'Tis the Season for Fraud