Learning about consumers' habits is always interesting, but looking at the evolution of the ways they shop is even more fascinating.
We recently conducted an online shopping survey of more than 1,100 U.S. adults to see how consumers spend and save their money now, and we want to share our findings!
Key Findings From Our Online Shopping Survey
- 74% of men say they feel safe when shopping online, compared to 68% of women.
- 80% of women are willing to wait for an item on their wish list to go on sale; only 70% of men say the same.
- More men (58%) than women (49%) say they have an emergency fund. And people over 60 are the most likely to have an emergency fund.
- Adults ages 30-44 are more likely than others to have used curbside pickup and grocery delivery services.
- People who are 18-29 years old are more likely than other age groups to use cash when shopping.
How Gender and Age Influence Buying Behaviors
Check out the infographic below about consumer buying behavior, then read on for an in-depth look at consumer shopping habits. Learn how men and women shop differently, as well as how various age groups treat services like curbside pickup and grocery delivery. (You can share this info, too! Just click the Facebook, Twitter, or email button at the top of the page if you're a desktop user, or at the bottom of the page if you're on a mobile device.)
Men vs. Women: How Our Shopping Habits Differ
Men Feel Safer Shopping Online
Many of us are so used to shopping online now that it's hard to imagine not taking advantage of it.
However, we found in our online shopping survey that when it comes to men and women, 74% of the former say they feel safe when shopping online, as opposed to only 68% of the latter.
Additionally, 26% of men say they're comfortable shopping at new or unknown online retailers, compared to 23% of women.
More Women Prefer Curbside Pickup
According to our results, 64% of women say they're "likely" or "very likely" to use curbside pickup in the future, compared to 61% of men. With this service, you don't even need to step inside a store to get your items — someone brings them out to you!
So it's not surprising to see that the majority of our respondents are interested in curbside pickup. Women may just be slightly more drawn to it than men are.
Women Use Debit More Than Credit In Person
Credit cards are a popular form of payment for consumers, whether they're shopping in person or online. But some shoppers still prefer to use a debit card instead.
For instance, 43% of women who responded to our survey say they prefer to pay via a debit card when shopping in person, while only 39% prefer to use a credit card.
Women Wait to Buy
Creating wish lists can be a great way to keep an eye on items you want, especially if you're waiting for them to go on sale. But when people really desire a product, they can't always stand to wait.
It turns out that women may be better at waiting than men. Our survey responses pointed to 80% of women willing to wait for items on their wish list to go on sale. When it comes to men, only 70% say they wait for an item to be discounted before buying.
Men Are More Likely to Spend on Entertainment
Yet when it comes to habits in online shopping, more women (18%) than men (11%) are likely to spend their money on clothing if they have extra savings beyond their monthly budget, according to our survey.
And what about men's online shopping behavior? Our survey shows that men are about twice as likely as women to shop entertainment categories, including movies, concerts, and theater.
Women Focus More on Diet Improvements
Almost 74% of men and over 74% of women stated they'd be making a resolution for the 2021 new year, according to an online survey by Finder. For those folks, health-related resolutions topped the list, with 44% of men and 47% of women pledging to be healthier in some way.
So it probably isn't surprising that in our own survey, we found that 60% of women were planning to improve their diet this year, compared to 52% of men.
More Men Are Saving to Buy a Home
Some real estate experts predict that housing prices will rise 5.7% in 2021, and that house sales will increase by 7%. Mortgage rates are low, but they're expected to go up slowly throughout 2021.
That isn't stopping people from saving to buy a home, though. In fact, 26% of our male respondents say they're saving to buy a home, whereas only 18% of women say the same.
More Men Than Women Have an Emergency Fund
It's often recommended to have between three and six months of expenses saved up to serve as an emergency fund. Your needs for emergency savings may vary, though, so it's important to evaluate your situation and plan accordingly.
From our survey results, we discovered that men are more likely to report having an emergency fund. Of our respondents, 58% of men answered positively to having an emergency savings fund; only 49% of women gave the same answer.
Women Are Using iOS More Than Android
When it comes to the big mobile operating systems, it wouldn't be surprising to find that there's an even split among those who prefer Google's Android system over Apple's iOS one, and vice versa.
While this split among Android and iOS devices holds true for the men who responded to our survey, we also discovered that women used iOS devices 17% more than Android ones to answer our questions.
Consumers' Habits by Age
People Over 60 Shop When They Need Something
It's difficult to imagine consumers not taking advantage of shopping holidays, but our survey results point to specific consumer buying habits for those over 60. Namely, 89% of this age group say they mostly shop when they need something.
That's the highest percentage of all the age groups we surveyed. If their need coincides with a shopping holiday, they might take advantage of it. However, it seems that older adults are mostly just buying whatever item they need when they need it, and not worrying about whether it's at the best price they'll see all year.
Shoppers Aren't Always Saving Money AND Time Online
Shopping online can save you time and money, but our survey results show that select age groups don't see the overlap as much. For instance, 51% of shoppers aged 18-29 claim to save more money shopping online than at a physical store. Only 36% of shoppers over the age of 60 believe the same.
SEE ALSO: Your Guide to Every Holiday Sale in 2021
Even so, 68% of shoppers over the age of 60 state they save more time by shopping online. Comparatively, only 49% of shoppers aged 18-29 report the same. Perhaps younger shoppers are shopping around more and trying to find the best price, which equates to more time spent shopping online.
Ultimately, they may save money through their online shopping behavior, but they may be researching or browsing more online than they would be if they shopped in person.
Age 30-60 Is Prime Time
Amazon Prime memberships are still one of the most popular subscriptions to have, if not the most popular. However, we saw a clear separation of ages that buy into the extensive list of Prime benefits Amazon offers.
For example, consumers aged 30-60 are the most likely to have a Prime membership, according to our survey. This raises questions about why people aged 18-29 and those over 60 don't buy into the hype as much.
For those under 30, it could simply be that they can't afford the service, although Amazon does offer a discounted Prime Student membership.
Of course, if a person in that age group isn't a student, then they won't qualify, and it may be harder to justify the $119-per-year price tag.
Folks over 60 may find themselves in a similar situation. While they may have the funds for a yearly Prime membership, they might not see the need for it, especially if they rarely shop online. If they're retired, though, the reasoning could ostensibly be that they're skipping the Prime membership because they're on a fixed income, and can't justify that high cost.
Not Everyone Loves Curbside Pickup
To many shoppers, curbside pickup is one of the greatest advancements to grow out of the coronavirus pandemic. While stores were offering it beforehand, many stepped up their efforts during the lockdowns.
Select retailers even offered extra discounts to shoppers who used curbside pickup around the holidays in 2020, rather than having their items shipped.
However, for the group of respondents aged 30-44, a whopping 80% say they've used curbside pickup. This is more than any other group we surveyed.
We can think of a couple of reasons why older consumers might not be as keen to use curbside pickup, while those who are 30-44 years old embrace it. The younger age group may have more lifestyle demands and responsibilities, so they find extra convenience in opting for curbside pickup, compared to those who are older.
The older crowd also might be averse to using curbside pickup because it often involves an added element of technology, such as informing the vendor that you've arrived via an app and showing them a screen as proof.
Grocery Delivery Use Varies
Online grocery delivery is another service that exploded in popularity over the course of 2020. Like curbside pickup, it existed before the pandemic, but not everyone was on board with giving it a try.
Frequently, shoppers like to pick their own meats, breads, and produce, so perhaps putting the control in someone else's hands wasn't an appealing factor.
But during the lockdowns of 2020, more people embraced these services. In fact, our survey shows that shoppers aged 30-44 are more likely to have had groceries delivered than any other group, to the tune of 55%. Those over the age of 60, meanwhile, have used grocery delivery the least, with only 29% of consumers in that age group participating.
On the other hand, people over the age of 60 are much more willing to order food or restaurant delivery. In fact, 55% of that age group admitted to having food delivered in the past year.
More Young Adults Prefer to Pay With Cash
Cashless stores have popped up more in the last few years, but they've brought backlash along with them. For one thing, many lawmakers and activists point out that banning cash as a form of payment discriminates against consumers who may rely on it as their sole form of payment.
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Buying Guide for 2021
As our survey results show, carrying cash is still plenty popular. In fact, those under 30 are more likely to prefer paying with cash — 21% say it's their preferred payment method when shopping in person — while only 9% of those over 60 like using cash for in-person shopping. Consumers over the age of 60 in general are less likely to use cash when they shop.
Some younger people may choose cash because they don't have credit cards. Whether that's due to not being approved for cards or perhaps being hesitant to run the risk of debt isn't clear.
As for those over 60, the reasoning could be that they simply don't feel the need to carry cash. They could be paying with personal checks, or have a card with a high enough limit that they're unconcerned with using it for every purchase.
Older Consumers Don't Want to Wait
Among the consumer buying habits we found in our survey is that the older a consumer is, the less likely they're going to wait for items on their wish list to go on sale before purchasing. This could be related to the fact that older shoppers often earn more money than their younger counterparts, so they aren't as concerned with saving when they buy.
The 60-Plus Group Is Stocking Up
Our survey respondents over the age of 60 were the most likely to plan to have a backup supply on hand. Among these items are a 1-month supply of nonperishable foods, paper goods, and personal protective equipment.
This planning could be related to the fact that older consumers are more likely to own a residence, rather than renting. Thus, they may have the space to store these items. Additionally, older shoppers may be more likely to have the actual funds to purchase these products, whereas younger consumers might not have the extra cash on hand to buy supplies to stockpile.
Older Adults Are More Likely to Have an Emergency Fund
Along the same lines, those over 60 — 64.14% of them, specifically — are more likely to have an emergency fund than any other age group, according to our survey results. This is likely due again to the fact they're making more money, but have also had more time to put funds away in order to build emergency savings.
In addition, older adults may have a bigger need for an emergency savings fund. For instance, younger consumers might not have the same amount of bills that older shoppers do.
Older consumers may have to worry about paying a mortgage and the bills that go along with owning a home, plus other bills like car payments or ones resulting from being a caretaker. Younger shoppers, meanwhile, may need to make monthly rent, but they might be able to avoid other bills.
The biggest difference is likely that younger consumers simply make less than their older counterparts. Therefore, they don't have the extra funds to put away for emergencies.
Readers, which of these findings apply to your shopping habits? Do you agree with our conclusions? Let us know in the comments below!