The battle of the sexes has spilled over into how different genders spend money. Do we really spend money differently when it comes to men and women, or do we spend money in similar ways? This is a question that is important to answer because it gives us a solid overview about how men and women operate when it comes to money. Let’s look at the key trends and differences in how men and women spend money in the UK.
Men and consumer spending in the UK
The rise of women in the workplace and men and women marrying older and later in life has changed the trends of men and money in Britain. The days of men being the sole breadwinners for the family have changed however, some trends still show that men do consumer spending differently.
A study cited by the Daily Mail said that for the first time in the UK, men are spending almost as much as women on fashion and accessories. The study found that the fashion market for men went up by more than 4% in one year. This highlights the rise of the ‘mansumers’ according to the study. ‘Mansumers’ are men in the UK who like to spend money on fashion, accessories and other consumer goods that have traditionally been targeted heavily towards women. The growth of the ‘mansumers’ has meant that discretionary spending for men is no longer just about motors or gadgets but it also has become more diverse. Luxury brands and mass market companies are creating new products to appeal to this new segment of male consumers especially in apparel where the category is said to be worth £13bn annually for men’s clothing.
Men have not been given as much attention in the highly competitive apparel and grooming market but it looks like companies are trying to correct these mistakes. In the same study, more than 3,600 men were surveyed. A staggering 70% of men surveyed said that they enjoyed shopping. This shows that more men in Britain are using money as a way to treat themselves to things that they want in order to look better, and clothing, accessories and watches achieves this.
52% of men in the UK prefer to shop in person are also people who don’t like to shop online, according to the Office of National Statistics. This connects with the view that men like to see the physical product in person to look and dissect it. Even though the ONS found that 77% of British men shop online compared to 75% of British women, shopping instore is still important for men despite high street retail stores targeting women for instore shopping.
Women and consumer spending in the UK
83% of shopping decisions are made by women, according to research cited by the Independent. This explosive statistics shows that when it comes to consumer spending and shopping, what a woman thinks and feels about a product is still important. Consumer spending is one of the most important signs about how the economy is doing and the UK is the perfect example of how consumer spending shapes how policy is made and implemented.
Dr Gloria Moss, an academic based at Buckinghamshire University did research that found that most retail stores were designed by men, however 93% of all groceries are bought by women and 60% of new cars are bought by women as well. This research, as mentioned in the Independent, shows that women play an important role in determining what is purchased not just in fashion and beauty but in general merchandise.
The power of women and their consumer spending in the UK is felt online as well. Real Business reported that British women spend £460m per week shopping online. This is a huge number that shows the continued strength that British women have when it comes to shopping and choosing what products to buy.
Women in the UK will continue to play a central role in how much is spent at the tills due to family, motherhood and becoming important parts of the work force.
Key takeaways and how to build on them for the future
- Men hold positions of power that affect how women shop: This is something that will probably be addressed as more women in the retail and consumer goods sector get director level jobs where they can make changes to how shopping environments are built and design. More women should be introduced at management and director level to ensure that women’s perspectives are heard when it comes to shopping.
- Brands need to market correctly to women: As countless studies have shown, women are mostly the final people who make decisions when it comes to what products will be bought for the household. The brands that succeed are the ones that target women in an authentic way and with prices that are affordable for a wide spectrum of women such as single mothers, stay at home mums, working mothers and unmarried women.
- Men and women need to work together to create budgets: For married and co-habiting couples, it is important for men and women to come together as a team to create budgets that are doable and workable for both people. Even though women are the centres of consumer choice, male voices need to be heard to especially when it comes to making consumer choices for boys and young men in the family. Budgeting should be done together and the responsibility for the budget should be undertaken by both genders.
How different do you think men and women operate when it comes to spending in your experience? Look within your family and friendships for examples and stories. Ultimately, there are interesting trends that exist in both genders and spending patterns tell us a lot about how the UK economy is doing whether there is a recession or a boom happening. Budgeting and financial planning is critical in consumer spending whether you are a man or a woman. Only buy what you need and what you can afford to avoid financial hardship.