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Gender, Income Big Factors in Internet Buying Behavior

Those who make more than $75,000 a year scout out coupons, discounts and free shipping more frequently than those who make less, according to a new survey.

The research, which studied Internet buying behaviors, also shows that only about half of online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. The survey also found that a quarter of men say they’d buy premium brand- name products, compared to just 16 percent of women.

The survey, conducted by marketing firm SteelHouse, illustrates the diverse behaviors of online shoppers and the complexity of marketing to Internet consumers.

Typically, marketers blast the same ad with the same offer to millions of consumers, but SteelHouse CEO and online marketing technology expert Mark Douglas said giving the same offer to every online shopper is not the way to increase sales.

“You need to know who fits into each category, and make the offers that are appropriate,” Douglas told BusinessNewsDaily.

The study, which asked 1,000 Americans “What kind of online shopper are you?” also concluded that:

  • 39 percent always shop with a purpose, and look online only when searching for something in particular.
  • 32 percent check out coupon sites to get the best price.
  • 30 percent browse products regularly, even when they have no intention of making a purchase.
  • 28 percent buy only when there’s a discount.
  • 27 percent buy only when there’s an offer for free shipping.
  • 20 percent buy premium brand-name products.
  • 18 percent often start the checkout process without purchasing anything in the end.
  • 12 percent never buy on the first visit to a website, even if a discount is offered.
  • 11 percent never shop online.

In addition, women feel more strongly about discounts and offers than men , with one-third of women saying they only buy when there’s a discount , and nearly that same amount admitting they only buy when free shipping is a part of the deal.  Less than a quarter of men say the same, according to the survey.

Douglas said retailers that understand and act on these different shopper personalities in real time are the ones that will be successful.

Today’s technology allows businesses to identify shopper behaviors and target their marketing efforts appropriately, and retailers should take advantage of that, Douglas said.


“We are now able to message each shopper, and incentivize each one,” Douglas said.

In addition to the survey, SteelHouse is using its own anonymous, aggregate shopping behavior metrics collected over the past year to identify and define shopping personality profiles.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.