MEERUT: Shopping is usually considered a women-only-domain with men’s role largely limited to carrying shopping bags and occasionally buying presents. So, one could be excused for assuming that it is women who spend more time on e-commerce websites and shopping online. On the contrary, a recent study has found that men spend 30% more time than women shopping on e-commerce sites every month on an average in India. E-tailers say that men not only spend more time on the sites but also make bigger purchases and spend much more than women across all segments. We spoke to retailers as well as avid e-shoppers to see what exactly do men shop when they take a stroll through the e-markets.
70% of all shopping is done by men: e-retailers
E-retailers say that men make up for a big majority of their overall customer base and they make purchases across all segments. Navin Mistry, head of retail exports & lifestyle category for eBay India, says, “Contrary to current perception, it’s not just women who shop online. Men are predominant online shoppers, comprising of 70% purchases made online.”
Animesh Kumar, associate director, Shopclues, says, “Of our total sales, men contribute to 60%, outspending women by a huge margin. Men visit the site for various essentials, be it in the department of clothing or gadgets. The traffic generated by men is also larger because they make multiple visits on the website.”
Even e-retailers that function exclusively as smartphone apps say that men are far ahead of women when it comes to shopping online. According to data received from Myntra, men constitute 60% of the shoppers and women constitute 40%, if we talk about UP in particular. The most popular items are t-shirts, accounting for almost one-fifth of the overall sales, followed by shirts, casual shoes, jeans, and accessories.
Men shop for expensive items
Some attribute this additional spending to the fact that men make a majority of their purchases in more ‘expensive’ segments and categories like electronics. Navin Mistry elaborates, “While women are active buyers in the clothing, accessories, beauty and kitchen segment, men prefer to purchase mobiles, computers and other electronic gadgets online. Electronic items are more expensive and hence, the total amount spent per purchase is higher for male customers. In addition, furniture and home decor segment is evolving to be a popular online shopping category among male shoppers with an increase of 200% year-to-year growth.”
Arpit Rastogi, an IT professional, says, “I buy a lot of electronic items and gadgets online. I have bought cellphones, camera accessories, a laptop and even a TV online. If anything is available online, I prefer to order it from there rather than go to the market. It gives me the freedom to compare prices, and I get genuine reviews about the product online, apart from home delivery and much better return policies.”
Move over gadgets, fashion and lifestyle are the new favourites among men
However, recent trends indicate that men’s preferences while shopping online are shifting. Categories like fashion and lifestyle and home decor, which were usually dominated by women, are now the most popular among male shoppers. Ankit Nagori, chief business officer, Flipkart, says, “Fashion and lifestyle is the most popular category amongst our male shoppers, followed by electronics and auto accessories. We see a lot of men shop for denims, casual t-shirts, sports apparels and footwear on our platform. In fact, in the last few months, demand for men’s sports and apparel category has grown by 25%. We have also witnessed men browsing and shopping a lot from a premium and international brands across categories. For example, in the recent times, demand for premium products under lifestyle and electronics categories has gone up significantly.”
Nakul Bajaj, CEO, Darveys.com, says, “While in most regions across the country, women still are the prime consumers of fashion items online, Uttar Pradesh has a different story! Here men have already taken the lead and changed the traditional notion, leaving women behind. The percentage of new visits created on our website by men is 51%, whereas women being 49%.”
We look for stuff that’s niche: male shoppers
E-shoppers say that while shopping in the cyberspace, they look for products that are either cheaper than the markets or something niche that they wouldn’t otherwise find. Amir Akhtar, a marketing professional from Meerut, says, “When shopping online, I go for stuff that’s difficult to find in mainstream shops and malls. For instance my most recent purchases were t-shirts with quotes & puns, mobile back covers, and a designer bike helmet.”
Rajat Singh, a telecom executive from Agra, adds, “I mostly buy clothes online. For gadgets, I prefer the trusted shops in the city. But even for clothes, I make sure that I’m spending my money on something different, something that I wouldn’t get in the markets easily. These days, the merchandise available on these online stores is exhaustive. And who has the time to shop? This is much easier and more convenient.”
96% buyers in baby domestic appliances segment are men
On several occasions, male shoppers say they shop for the women in their lives. This trend is evident from figures received from eBay, which show that even in categories where there are no products for men; male shoppers are the primary buyers. For instance, in Baby and Mom products, 55% of all buyers are men, while the figure is 70% in beauty and health and a whopping 96% in domestic appliances.
Kartik Raj, a college student from Kanpur, says, “I literally do all the online shopping in my house. Even when my mom wants to order something, she comes to me to place the order despite the fact that she has an account on most of the big e-retailers. She is just not very tech-savvy when it comes to placing the orders. I believe this is a big reason why men outspend women online.”
Sarita Singh, a teacher from Agra, echoes this view. She says, “In our household, I’m responsible for all the offline shopping including groceries, paying the bills, and other miscellaneous expenses while my husband takes care of the online spending. It’s just more convenient that way. Whenever I want to buy something, I send him the link and he places the order.”
E-retailers make shifts to keep up with the trend
E-retailers say that keeping in mind this new trend, they have even made changes to their business models to accommodate the growing number of men shopping online. Rahul Narvekar, CEO, IndianRoots.com, says, “Recently we forayed into men’s wear due to the shift in the buying patterns of men online. Men shop extensively for fashion and lifestyle products now, and are willing to spend good money on it. Already, 25% of all the traffic on our website is men, which shows how the trend of online shopping is undergoing a rapid change.”
[“source – retail.economictimes.indiatimes.com”]