Sat04192014

LAST_UPDATESat, 19 Apr 2014 8am

Online Shopping: The Battle Of The Sexes

/The ultimate question?/The ultimate question?CHRISTMAS is approaching and the daunting task of buying gifts for those dearest to us immediately comes to mind.

For the naturally gifted ‘Santas’, the task is executed with just enough skill , making finding the right gift look as easy as breathing.

For the rest of us mere mortals, the idea of strolling around a mall looking for ‘whatever looks great’ for others or ourselves can be equated with the experience of riding a donkey on a minefield; stressful, slow and if it all goes terribly wrong, you will end up in pieces.

Thank the heavens for online shopping - a new (relatively new, it was first demonstrated by British inventor Michael Aldrich in 1979) way to go shopping.

Online shopping is the ideal source of ease for lazy shoppers worldwide who long for a more straightforward access to window shopping or go for the products and services they want.

Because of its accessibility, it is only natural to ask the following question: between men and women, who shops more online? (Hint: the answer may not be that obvious.)

Zalora (www.zalora.com.my) an online fashion store based in Malaysia that feature both local and international brands. They provide the somewhat traditional statistic that Malaysian women are the majority shoppers on their site with 67% whilst men trailed behind with 33%.

On the other hand, international statistics made by Iprospect, a digital marketing company revealed that men are the majority of online shoppers with a whooping 70% while women trailed behind with 33%.

The online shopping craze might not have reached Malaysian men just yet but the general consensus internationally states that men prefer to shop online while women prefer to physically travel to the stores to purchase the products they want.

“Sally”, an executive who works in Kuala Lumpur, felt that women treat shopping as an activity but men treat shopping as an action.

“Going to the store is therapeutic, specifically the journey and the human interaction that you get either with the staff or the friends you go there with. Everyone has stresses no matter what they do and going to out to shop is one way we women deal with that tension,” said Sally, who obviously goes for her ‘theraputic sessions’ very often.

Shopping Can Clearly Be An Addiction/ Marc JacobsShopping Can Clearly Be An Addiction/ Marc JacobsSally’s description of shopping as a ‘spiritual’ journey of some sort might draw some giggles but she reinstated her point by quoting a saying by Karl Lagerfeld, a renowned designer behind Chanel and Fendi, names women worldwide worship when it comes to the fashion world.

“He said that a store isn’t just a store, it’s an experience and rightfully so. I shop not just to get stuff but rather to experience the products first hand, the leather of the bag against my skin not stationary on the computer screen,” Sally, the mother of one, told mD.

“Adam”, a 19-year old student who prefers online shopping to physically buying products from stores agrees with Sally because he says most men see shopping as an activity but believes online shoppping is a better alternative.

“It’s a practical alternative. I get to have the privacy to browse the items that I want without anyone else looking for as long as I want instead of going to the store, the time I would’ve spent could be used for other activities,” said Adam, who probably uses his parent’s credit card for his shopping.

“Don’t take this in disrespect (laughs) but sometimes it’s as if women prefer to wander around malls wasting time looking for something they’ll probably not find, or worse, make no purchases and go home only to go there again to restart this ‘treasure hunt’ all over again.” Adam jokingly said.

The Malaysian-based Zalora and international online fashion stores such as Net-A-Porter (as well as it’s male counterpart, Mr Porter) not only provide products but also tips and advice for customers, sometimes through an interactive visual magazine format.

Another fair point worth raising is knowledge on range and availability of the products that differ between going to a store and browsing online.

Adriana, a store manager of a luxury brand in Starhill Gallery understands why online some people prefer online shopping particularly when it comes to availability of the product and its range.

“For one, the products featured online show the entire collection whilst some physical stores only show half of it because of the limited display space. Sometimes if the store has several branches in that country, some items could’ve run out in one branch but available in the other.

“But that being said, when it comes to certain products where the customer’s satisfaction depend highly on the size and fit of a product. Especially shoes and undergarments, they need to fit well for the person to be comfortable wearing it so they’ll have to come over to test it out, ” she said.

On the difference between men and women shoppers Adriana could not help but chuckle at the question.

Women often see shopping as an activityWomen often see shopping as an activityShe observed that women that come to her store prefer to shop with a group of friends whilst men opted to shop alone.

“But most the male customers shop way faster, presumably because they knew what they want before coming over. The women take some time, it’s a bit more of a process,” added Adriana.

Adriana’s observation may answer some questions on the different ways men and women shop, yet it opens up a whole lot more specifically on what shopping truly means to different genders.

Based on the international statistics is it safe to assume that some women, through physically going to the store for example, prefer to give out and take in opinions publicly whilst men favour to do so in private?

Alas, there is no clear winner in the battle of sexes when it comes to shopping, online or otherwise but it certainly can’t be dismissed as a boring discussion.So men prefer privacy when they shop?So men prefer privacy when they shop?

So how are you going to sort your Christmas gift worries, are you going out or are you going to get that Visa card ready and open a new tab?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-mD

 

 

 

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