New research conducted by Experian for Paypal
has found that the stereotype of the female shopaholic could soon be a thing of the past as the UK's online high street is increasingly dominated by men.
The Paypal UK Online Retail Report finds that, in the UK, more than 12.9 million men shop online today compared with 10.3 million women, and almost twice as many men as women are joining the ranks of online shoppers each year.
Since 2006, an average of 839,000 extra men have started shopping online each year, compared with fewer than 400,000 women.
Men are also spending more online than women. The research revealed that the average online spend over the preceding six months was £2,602 for men against £1,930 for women. Men significantly outspent women on travel (£992 against £884), financial services (£897 against £616) and major purchases such as fridge freezers and washing machines (£627 against £339). Men spent more than women in every online category except groceries and clothing.
The Paypal report goes on to suggest that men were quicker to turn to the internet at the beginning of the economic downturn, looking to save money by shopping around, and to research products in more depth before buying them.
"The online revolution has turned men into shopaholics. We love the quick and efficient nature of the internet, especially when it comes to buying technology and gadgets," says Carl Scheible, Paypal UK's managing director. "Companies like Paypal have also helped by making it quicker to checkout and pay online — in many cases, in just a few mouse clicks."
And, say the researchers, men's love affair with online shopping looks set to accelerate. Four in 10 (41%) male shoppers plan to do as much of their shopping as possible online in future, against just 29% of women — and over half (55%) of men shopping online expect to expand the range of products and services they buy compared to 45% of women.