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Overlook male shoppers at your peril: report

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More than half of men use the internet to look at products every couple of days, making the male of the species an often overlooked but key market for retailers, new research suggests.

A report from research agency Shoppercentric found that 54% of men browse online, compared to 47% of women, spending, on average, between 30 minutes online – the same length of time as women.

In that time they are likely to visit between one and five sites (84% of men and women), and they rate price as the most important factor in where they shop (53%), followed by product choice (15%) and quality (14%) of products. Only 4% of men said they never shop online, compared to 6% of women.

Men have a very different way of shopping, according to the report, which draws on online discussions with 40 men and quantitative interviews with 1,001 UK adults. It found that 49% of men prefer to shop only when they know what they’re going to buy (38% for women), with 49% also saying that shopping is about getting in and out quickly (32% of women). They dislike overcrowding or long queues, and 20% visit local independent stores once a week, compared to 19% of women.

Yet many retailers still consider women their primary target, argues Shoppercentric’s managing director Danielle Pinnington, and sell accordingly. “The research findings beg the question of why retailers try to merchandise to men and women in the same way when they clearly prefer different approaches,” she said. “The more personal or focused approach of a local independent better suits the male shopper’s mindset – perhaps retailers can learn from this.”

The research also suggests that younger men are more impulsive and see shopping as a social experience, with 38% of this group buying unplanned items, compared to 25% of men and 30% of women, on average. Some 24% of men in this age group said they liked to make shopping a social event with friends, a view endorsed by only 12% of all men and 22% of women.

Pinnington says a multichannel strategy focused on male shoppers will help retailers win new custom. Their strategy might include having everything under one roof, and apps that give shoppers the ability to check on deals, and read products reviews and news. She added: “If there is one change a retailer makes, we’d recommend that it is opening up communications with male shoppers and find ways to reconnect not disconnect.”

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