Today there are clear differences about the way men and women are using the latest digital channels to shop, with women leaning more towards social and men more towards mobile. Research just out from shopper research agency Shoppercentric shows 38% of men own a smartphone (compared to 29 % of women) and 60% of women use Facebook (compared to 52% of men).
The findings aim to provide a new perspective on the commercial impact of the technology and communications changes taking place, said Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric. “The survey clearly suggests a rather stereotypical situation – that women are slightly more likely to engage with retailers and brands through the social, chatty medium while men are very happy to play with their toys. Time is also an issue with women possibly more likely to engage in the social elements of a retailer’s Facebook page, and men looking to speed up the purchasing process via mobile.”
Pinnington points out that the findings suggest there are more commercial opportunities on the mobile side than the social though. While the mobile commerce trend seems to have a made a real connection with men and shopping, for example 14% of men use phone apps that support shopping (compared with 8% of women); women have yet to become as engaged with brands and retailers through their preferred medium of social networking. Currently just 9% of consumers (men and women) are following brands on social media and just 6% make a purchase.
The biggest reason for consumers to follow a brand/retailer on social media was to feel part of a group (32 percent). 29% also follow them to share thoughts and be a part of a forum. To get discounts, vouchers or promotions attracted just 10% to contact the company and 6% joined to make a complaint. Facebook was the most popular social networking platform with 56% of respondents using it. YouTube was a close second.
“So it’s not that consumers won’t communicate with brands, it simply means that brands need to work much harder to set up and maintain the connection,” said Pinnington. “Brands need to think hard about what they want to share, not just what they want to get out of the conversation. And they need to work on the basis that they must seek out these connections rather than assuming consumers will come to them. Ultimately they need to create a social network space which generates curiosity in the brand, and gives them a reason for visitors to keep coming back.”
Other key trends:
•Only 1 in 3 shoppers visit brand websites nowadays, compared to 3 in 4 visiting retailer websites.
•63% of shoppers visit a retailer’s or brand’s website to make a purchase compared with just 6% through social media.
•The main reason for shoppers wanting to reach out to and connect with a company through social media is to find out something new (32%). They were equally as likely to want brand/retailers to connect with them (23%) as they were to want brand/retailers to sell to them (24%). Interestingly 12% also wanted the brands/retailers to help them have more fun.
•Just over a third (38%) of 16-24 year olds admitted to already following brands/retailers on social media. This figure reduces as the age groups climb in number to: 29% of 25-34 year olds, 18% of 35-44 year olds, 8% of 45-54 year olds and respondents aged 55+ years said they weren’t following any. 56% of the 55+ age group added that they just didn’t see the point in doing it.