The next section of the research paper will examine whether, and to what extent, gender socialization influences these shopping behaviors.
Previous research studies have already identified several differences in the shopping behavior of males and females in conventional "bricks and windows" retail stores. The following questions will serve as a guide to examining the established patterns of shopping behaviors of women and men in physical stores. These will then be compared with research done into online shopping habits of both genders. While some of these behaviors appear to be the result of gender socialization, analysis will attempt to uncover other rationales for them.
These questions are: Do women shop without having an immediate need more often than men Are there measurable differences in the level of impulse motivating the buying decisions of male and female shoppers Are the priorities of male and femal shoppers different and; Is shopping behavior based on the emotional state ("mood") of the shopper more common in women or men
Not according to Paco Underhill, marketing consultant and author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping (Simon & Schuster, 2000). His research shows that both men and women spend time shopping -- in specific and widely differing categories -- without having a specific need in mind as they shop. Marketing studies he has conducted for large computer retailers show that 17% of the male customers interviewed visit the stores more than once a week just to look around. Computer equipment, video games, big screen TVs and DVDs have replaced music systems for many men as their technology focus. They go to the store to gain information more than to buy, as noted from how intently they read the packaging of software and computer accessories. Men prefer to get their information firsthand, off the box or from a brochure, rather than ask a salesperson. In this area, most men definitely shop without an immediate need.
For personal purchases, such as clothing and shoes, men go into a store, pick out what they need, and try it on. If it fits, it's bought. Immediate need is paramount when men shop for and buy personal items.
Women, on the other hand, assess clothing, particularly shoes, on many criteria besides immediate need and fit before buying. These include price, color, fabric care and how the item makes them look overall. Many a pair of shoes has been rejected, even if suitable, affordable and well-fitting, for the subjective reason that "they make my legs look fat." Shoes also must suit the time of year and the event the wearer is attending. These range from dancing, dating, and management meetings to taking the children to a soccer game, hence, there are many more styles of shoes for women than men.
Women also use all their senses when making purchasing decisions. This is a