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Men outpace women on mobile purchases but not for long: report

While 22.2 percent of men have made a purchase on their smartphone compared to 18.2 percent of women, these roles could soon change as women become more comfortable with mobile,  according to a report from SeeWhy.

The report found that 57 percent of women had made an online purchase in the last year, while only 52 percent of men had done so. One of the analysts involved with the report states that women may be more hesitant to adopt mobile commerce, but as they become more comfortable with the technology, they will overpass men.

“Women are much more price conscious, looking for a deal,” said Charles Nicholls, chief security officer/founder at SeeWhy, Boston. “Men tend to be more research intensive, reading reviews, more analytical perhaps, but then having made that decision will make the purchase and at that point price and free shipping is less important.

“That also carries through to mobile,” he said. “You see different patterns.

“Men are much more likely to showroom. They seem more comfortable making purchases on mobile devices and perhaps women are more cautious.”

SeeWhy’s Conversion Academy surveyed 60,512 United States consumers to gather information for “The Roles of Gender, Geography and Age in Mobile Commerce” report.

Gender differences
While women overall were less likely to have made a purchase on their smartphone, women between the ages of 18-24 were a bit more likely than men to make a purchase on a smartphone. This hints that women may be surpassing men in the near future in terms of mobile commerce.

Similarly, 16.9 percent of women had made a purchase on their tablet, and 20.4 percent of men had made a purchase on their tablet. Of 18-24 year olds, 19.8 percent of women had done so, and 14 percent of men had done so.

Another interesting finding is that 43 percent more females looked for promocodes and gift vouchers. This ties into gender generalizations that women are more price conscious than men, who may care more about reviews.

Additionally, men used tablets more in-store than women, indicating that men may be showrooming more than women.

Marketing implications
According to Mr. Nicholls, the biggest dropout in terms of mobile site traffic occurs right after the shopping cart before consumers have to input billing and shipping details.

Consumers see all of the blanks to fill out and do not want to do it on a smartphone, trying to press all the small buttons with their fingers.

Mr. Nicholls therefore advises marketers to make the mobile experience as easy as possible. Avoid consumers having to search the site, which may be time-consuming and irritating, by having click-throughs available via email.

Then allow consumers to link to an existing account by entering a username and password to avoid having to enter all the information.

Another major takeaway from this report is that mobile marketers need to be thinking about their target audiences and whether or not they should be considering gender in their strategies.

For example, marketers targeting primarily men should make sure their sites are easy to use and optimized for small-screen use.

A marketer who targets primarily females might increase email marketing campaigns and add safety and security seals to sites to reassure their consumers.

“I think this is all very useful background knowledge in terms of understanding where everybody’s at,” Mr. Nicholls said.

“It’s very easy to get carried away in the industry without realizing that women, who are the largest demographic out there in terms of online buying, still don’t feel comfortable with mobile commerce,” he said. “We need to think about reassurance, to reassure people that it is safe, that their details are protected.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York