Tenekecioğlu Birol
                                   Anadolu University

                                       Çalık Nuri
                                   Anadolu University
This paper intends to study the gender differences between males and females from purchasing
behaviour point of view. The extensiveness of the subject compels the authors of this paper to reduce it
to some basic and outstanding concepts so as to give an understanding of whether gender plays a
discriminating role in shopping behaviour or not. The paper comprises a field research on 650
respondents in Eskişehir City which is amongst the largest cities in Turkey with 500.000 inhabitants.
Stratified sampling method is used in data collection process and respondents are asked to answer 25
questions of which five are related to demographic factors. The study is consisted of four main parts of
which first part is an introduction to the subject; second part gives theoretical background about
brand loyalty and brand switching; new product adoption attitude; attitude towards price and
promotions; shopping habits and finally emotional responses. Third part deals with research
methodology and data collection, hypotheses and analysis. Analyses undertaken revealed some
significant differences between males and females in terms of brand purchasing behaviour Fourth part
reflects the conclusions gathered in this research.

Some of the products that consumers use may show differences with respect to their sex, i.e. males and
females want different types of products and in obtaining these products they follow different ways.
Marketers focus their attention more on females for the fact that women buy many products and
influence about 80 % of the consumer purchasers (MitchelL and Walsh, p.332). In all cultures gender
plays an important role as a social category and lead to a set of social definitions in terms of
“maleness” and femaleness” This issue can also be extended to conjugal relations, where dominance is
taken on either by the husband or by the wife or jointly. According to Lavin “husbands have primary
authority over goods and services that ensure the family’s financial well-being or that relates to
male’s customary maintenance tasks. Wives have primary responsibility for goods and services that
are needed to sustain the day-to –day operation of the home or that are associated with care of
children. And husbands and wives act together to contribute their knowledge and skills to the
acquisition of goods and services that touch on areas of mutual interest and authority” (Lavin, p. 33).

Brand choice depend upon several benefits that the consumer expect to obtain as a result of product
purchase decision. The relationship between the product class and brand choice by the consumers was
the main concern of the marketers in the past. Today most of the marketing research efforts by the
marketing researchers are directed upon the benefits gained by the consumers in terms of product as
well as the brand name. Consumer perceived or desired brand benefits are classified in accordance
with some basic dimensions. These dimensions in terms of quality/performance, price/value, for
money, social, emotional, environmental and health are related to brand and choice in the following
figure (Orth, p.117):

Fig 1. Desired Model Benefits and Choice Model

 Functional Benefit
  (Value for money)

    Social Benefit

  Emotional Benefit
    (Feel good/
      not bad


    Health Benefit

In terms of brand selection for gift-giving gender differences are observed when purchasing a gift for a
boss, close relative, or colleague. In this context, males prefer to purchase recognized, fun and
functional brands for their boss which covers social, emotional and functional benefits; whereas
females search for prestigious (symbolic) brands which reflects a social benefit (Parsons, p.142)

A recent study by Shoham and Brencie suggests that gender is an important predictor of compulsivity
which reflects a negative side of purchasing process and hypothesized as “females will exhibit lower
levels of compulsive purchasing tendencies than males do”(p.129). Females also tend to plan their
purchases more than males do. The reason for this is that women are more engaged in grocery
shopping and know more about stores and products and therefore make better market mavens. The
tested model in their research is depicted in the following figure (p.130):

Figure 2. Gender Difference and Compulsive Buying Behavior

      Tendency to Buy                                           Compulsive
      Items off One's                                            Purchase
        Product List                                             Tendency

                                  Lower for Females


Another research is carried out by Fischer and Arnold to identify the differences between sex, gender
identity and gender role attitudes in terms of consumer behavior. They assert that females and males
differ significantly in aspects of their behavior ranging prom the products they tend to buy to their
responses to advertising and product positioning. The authors also make a differentiation between the
terms “sex” and “gender”, where the first one refers to the biologically based categories of male and
female. Gender on the hand is used by the authors to connote psychological features associated with
sex. Gender identity is used to refer to the personality traits of masculinity and femininity and gender
role attitudes are related to the attitudinal differences regarding the roles, rights and responsibilities of
males and females. The findings of this research proved that sex, gender identity and gender role
attitudes are unique constructs and individuals with strong feminine identities do have more
psychological identification with the task in terms of both involvement and enjoyment (Fischer and
Arnold, p.179)

Michel Laroche et al conducts a survey where differences between males and females in accordance
with the relationship between subjective knowledge, experience and perceived product evaluation
difficulty. They hypothesized and proved that subjective knowledge is a positively correlated with
product-related experience and inversely related to the perceived evaluation difficulty of products;
product-related experience is also inversely related to the perceived evaluation difficulty; the
relationship between product-related experience and subjective knowledge is more strongly and
positively correlated for females than for males and perceived evaluation difficulty scores are
significantly higher for females (i.e. females perceive evaluating goods and services as a more
difficult process) (Laroche et al, p.248-249)

Gender differences in selecting, purchasing and using safety products is studied by Joni Hersch selcts
six different safety choices as smoking, seat belt use, teeth flossing, frequent teeth brushing, exercise
and checking blood pressure. He finds out that women chooser safer products than men but also
comments that this relationship is more pronounced in higher-income and higher educated consumers.
On the other hand he asserts that there is little evidence gender differences in risk behavior, that is
women do not necessarily choose less risky behavior than men (Hersch, p. 481).

Response to price and promotion in terms of gender differences is examined by Mazumdar and
Papatla. They examine gender differences with respect to price and promotions in terms of the
following items (Mazumdar and Papatla, p. 22):
       The average price paid
       The proportion of time that consumers buy a brand that is featured in a newspaper
       The proportion of the time that they buy a brand that is displayed in store.
       The proportion of the time a brand is purchased with manufacturer’s coupon
       The average value of a coupon when one is used.
The authors use income, education level, family size and working hours as moderating variables in
their analyses and conclude that although men pay generally a higher price than women this does
necessarily mean that women are more price-elastic than men. Coupon usage is more common in
women so they make most of their savings in this way rather than switching brands due to self-price
changes. Males on the other hand are more sensitive to price changes rather than using coupons (p. 31)

This study is carried out in May 2005, in Eskişehir which a large city of Turkey with a population of
500.000 inhabitants and has two universities one of which has an open faculty with approximately 1
million students. 648 subjects are chosen on random basis who are over 18 years of age and are
capable to understand and respond to the questions. A questionnaire form is designed with 25
questions of which 20 are related directly to the subject matter and the rest five reflects their
demographic characteristics. The first 20 questions are all ordinal type of questions and respondents
are required to select a seven-point Likert type of scale ranging between strongly agree to strongly
disagree. The definition variables attached to consumer behavior and their category is shown in the
following table:

Table 1. Consumer behavior Variables and Their Categories

Variable                         Description                                    Category
THIRST         When thirsty he/she goes to nearest source         Price Sensitivity – Desire to Spend
               (market or stand) and buys even it is too
ENJOYSHO       Enjoys shopping and does not hesitate to           Spending Time vs. Spending
               spend a lot of time in this respect                Money
HEDONIST       The prices in a fancy restaurant could be very     Price Sensitivity – Hedonism
               high, but does not matter if the food is
MATERIAL       He/she can spend many hours in shopping            Materialism – Spending Time
               since shopping and purchasing gives great
MAVEN          Has much more information on prices and            Mavenism – Price Knowledge.
               stores than his friends
PROMOTIO       Does not care much about sales promotions          Rational Motives – Brand loyalty –
               and questions himself/herself whether he/she       Response to sales Promotions
               really needs that product or uses that brand
INTERUSE       Meets a fairly amount of his/her needs for         Internet Trading
               durable goods
RELATION       Has primary relationships with store               Service       Relationship            –
               personnel and enjoys this type of shopping         Commitment – Store Loyalty
IMITATIO       Turn towards imitation brands in clothing          Imitation Brands
               and accessories since it is hard to distinguish
               them from genuine ones.
OPINIONL Is successful to convince those people around           Opinion Leadership - Mavenism
         him/her to buy products which he/she has
         profound knowledge upon.
ADSINSUF Believes that the majority of the TV                    Ad Ineffectiveness
         commercials are insufficient to be persuasive
         and information producing
DEALPRON Thinks that he/she makes a deal when uses               Deal Proneness – Satisfaction
         coupons or other sales promotions.
FOREIGNB Prefers native brands even if their quality is a        Foreign Brand        Perceptions    –
         bit low and their prices are a bit high. In this        Ethnocentrism
         respect he/she believes that national industry
         is supported and national economy is
LOYALTY  He/she does not prefer to purchase a different          Brand Loyalty
         brand even though for trial or for a change
MEMORY   Recalls immediately which product is sold               Long-lasting Memory        –    Data
         and at which price that enables him/her to              Processing Level
         make a comparison among products.
SELFESTE Feels self respect for any kind of purchase             Self-esteem
         decisions that he/she gives and thinks that
         those who does not feel self-respect also
         omits respecting others.
PURCHDEC He/she thinks that final purchase decision              Purchase Decision
         belongs to him/her even though he/she
         consults with his/her spouse or family.
PRICESEN Knows that some brands are sold at a much               Price Sensitivity
         higher price than their equivalents. Therefore
         he/she prefers to purchase the cheapest
         product among equivalents.
COGDISSO He/she feels uneasy for some time after                 Cognitive Dissonance - Emotional
         purchasing an expensive product for his/her
         personal use thinking that he makes an
         unnecessary spending
STORELOY Prefers to purchase items from different                Desire for Change – Store Loyalty
         stores nothing but for change.

The hypotheses formulated in this study are listed as follows:

H1: Price sensitivity is more common in females than in males.
H2: Females enjoy shopping more than males and spend more time than males for this purpose.
H3: Women are real mavens and know more about products, prices and stores than men.
H4: Sales promotions affect females more than males and females are affected from TV commercials
than males.
H5: Store and brand loyalties are more pronounced for women.
H6: Psychological constructs like ethnocentrism and self-esteem are shared indifferently by both
H7: Women prefer imitation products more than men since most of these products are fashion goods.
H8: Purchase decision is shared jointly by males and females.
H9: Post purchase emotional unrest (dissonance) is more stressed for females since they pay more
attention to shopping than males.

The analysis covers 20 variables which are examined by using bivariate analysis (in terms of Chi-
Square test) and significant gender differences are found in most of them.
Table 2: Significant Differences Across Consumer Attributes Sorted by Sex

Variable      Test       Agree %         Disagree %       Agree %       Disagree      Dominance
              sig.     (Females)         (Females)       (Males)       % (Males)
THIRST                   57.0              34.0           45.1          45,1           Female
ENJOYSHO                51.1              31.1           51.3          36.6           Female
HEDONIST                 27.2              59.5           37.5          50.7            Male
MATERIAL                 67.0              23.3           31.6          54.3           Female
MAVEN                    77.5              15.5           56.9          31.6           Female
PROMOTIO                 65.7              25.9           72.5          17.7            Male
INTERUSE                 5.8               92.9           8.8           87,6            Male
RELATION                 51.1              38.8           44.5          35.4           Female
IMITATIO                 36.2              43.7           24.4          62.2           Female
OPINIONL                 65.0              14.6           58.4          22.4           Female
ADSINSUF                54.0              24.3           60.5          16.8            Male
DEALPRON                60.8              22.3           50.4          33.9           Female
FOREIGNB                30.7              46.6           48.0          36.0            Male
LOYALTY                 48.2              38.5           58.1          28.3            Male
MEMORY                  66.3              20.1           58.1          21.2           Female
SELFESTE                91.5              2.3            93.8           5.3            Male
PURCHDEC                40.8              42.1           49.9          33.3            Male
PRICESEN        Ns *           84.1              10.0           81.1           9.1            None
COGDISSO                58.3              30.1           49.6          39.8           Female
STORELOY                28.2              52.4           17.1          61.7           Female
     not significant difference

Hypothesis 1 is accepted at levelas far as specialty items or expensive products are concerned.
Women hesitate to purchase an expensive product or service (fancy restaurant) but do not hesitate to
drink a soft drink at a higher price. In general no significant difference between males and females.

Hypothesis 2 is accepted at level where women like to spend more time for shopping and enjoy
shopping more than males. (variables ENJOYSHO and MATERİAL)

Hypothesis 3 is supported at level for variable OPINIONL and at level for variable
MAVEN. Therefore one can say that women make better males and opinion leaders.

 Hypothesis 4 is accepted at level for variable PROMOTIO : at level for variable
DEALPRON and at level for variable ADSINSUF. That is, males do not care much about sales
promotions and  questions themselves whether they really need that product or use that brand and
believe TV commercials are not enough to convince them to purchase a product.

Hypothesis 5 is accepted at level for variables RELATION and STORELOY but rejected at
level for variable LOYALTY. In other words, women pay more attention to interpersonal
relationships within the store whereas men direct their attention more on brand loyalty.

Hypothesis 6 is rejected at levels both for variables FOREIGNB and SELFESTE in favor of
males. There may not be a universal explanation for this phenomenon but the authors of this paper tie
it to the gender characteristics of males in Turkey.

Hypothesis 7 is sustained at level for variable IMITATIO since clothing and accessories are
considered more by women.
Hypothesis 8 is rejected at level for variable PURCHDEC where males have more authority in
the final purchase decision which might also be a peculiarity of this country.

Hypothesis 9 is accepted at level for variable COGDISSO where women feel uneasy for some
time after purchasing an expensive product for their personal use thinking that they make an
unnecessary spending


This study proves that males and females exhibit different behaviour in terms of shopping, products
and prices. Women are price sensitive when purchasing a specialty item or an expensive product
whereas men more price conscious when a frequently purchased item is in question. Hedonism is
more common in males and females enjoyment is directed towards shopping. Market mavens are
mostly females and this makes them good opinion leaders. All kinds of promotions affect females
more than males. On the other hand loyalty is split between men and women where men are more
brand loyals and women are more store loyals. Men dominate women as far as self-esteem, final
purchase decision, and ethnocentrism are concerned. Women prefer imitation brands but also succumb
to cognitive dissonance.


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