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Sex Roles, Vol. 50, Nos. 5/6, March 2004 (

Buying on the Internet: Gender Differences in On-line
and Conventional Buying Motivations
Helga Dittmar,1,2 Karen Long,1 and Rosie Meek1

Two studies are reported that examine gender differences in attitudes toward conventional
buying and on-line buying. Thematic analysis of open-ended accounts (n = 113) in Study 1
provides a rich, qualitative map of buying attitude dimensions that are important to young
women and men. Study 2 is a quantitative survey (n = 240) of functional, emotional–social,
and identity-related buying motivations in the 2 environments. The on-line environment has an
effect on buying attitudes, but more strongly so for women than for men. Whereas men’s functional concerns are amplified—rather than changed—in the shift from conventional to on-line
buying, women’s motivational priorities show a reversal, and less involvement in shopping. In
contrast to men, women’s on-line buying is associated with barriers (social–experiential factors) and facilitators (efficiency, identity-related concerns) grounded in their attitudes toward
conventional buying. This has implications for the ease with which women and men can and
want to adapt to the accelerating shift toward computer-mediated shopping.
KEY WORDS: Internet and gender; buying motivations; buying on-line.

The new media of the Internet and the World
Wide Web have revolutionized many aspects of everyday life, including the way in which we buy consumer goods. The shift from conventional buying in
shops and stores to retail e-commerce was estimated
to generate upward of $108 billion by 2003 (Childers,
Carr, Peck, & Carson, 2001). The number of consumers who buy goods on the Internet has increased
phenomenally, and over 60% of respondents in a U.K.
survey said that on-line shopping is now a serious alternative to conventional shopping (Sky News, 2002).
Internet buying prevalence is highest in the United
States, where 93% of Internet users have bought online (Business Software Association, 2002), but it is
growing rapidly in the United Kingdom: on-line sales
almost doubled from December 2001 to December

2002, a three times faster growth than that in the
United States (Interactive Media in Retail Group,
2002).
Given that men and women have been shown to
differ in their attitudes toward both the Internet and
shopping (in conventional environments), it seems
surprising that there is little research that explicitly addresses gender differences in on-line buying. The computer environment is seen as “masculine,” which can
lead women to feel disempowered and possibly excluded, whereas men feel at home on-line (Woodfield,
2000). Indeed, gender gaps in Internet use were pronounced until a few years ago, but appear to be closing now. For instance, whereas U.K. users in 1998
were 85% men and 15% women (Morahan-Martin,
1998), women constituted half of the U.K. on-line
population by November 2000 (Jupiter MMXI, 2000).
This change mirrors U.S. trends (e.g., Pew Internet
and American Life, 2003). This closure of the gender
gap, however, tells us little about women’s and men’s
use and experience of the Internet. A recent study
of U.S. undergraduates confirmed that women report
less computer self-efficacy and more anxiety, and that

1 University

of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex, United
Kingdom.
2 To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department
of Psychology, Pevensey Building, University of Sussex, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9QH, East Sussex, United Kingdom; e-mail:
h.e.dittmar@sussex.ac.uk.

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424
men enjoy surfing the Internet, whereas women prefer
to use it for interpersonal communication (i.e., e-mail;
Jackson, Ervin, Gardner, & Schmitt, 2001). These
findings imply that men could have more positive attitudes toward on-line buying than women do. Furthermore, research on buying in conventional shops
and stores documents that women are often more
psychologically invested in shopping than men are,
particularly when buying goods other than everyday
household products or groceries. Emotional, social,
and identity needs are more prominent in women’s
shopping than in men’s (Dittmar, 2000, 2001), and this
may influence their attitudes toward buying on-line in
a negative way.
It is possible that, despite the narrowed gender
gap in Internet use overall, gender differences in conventional buying motivations may be an additional
important reason why women experience greater barriers to buying on-line—as an environment that does
not offer much by way of emotional involvement and
social contact—and they may therefore find it harder
to adapt to, and make the most of, the accelerating
shift toward computer-mediated shopping. Indeed, a
recent U.S. survey proclaimed that “male Internet
users embrace on-line shopping” more strongly; 58%
of men expressed a positive interest as compared
to 42% of women (Yahoo, 2002). Thus, gender differences in attitudes toward both on-line and conventional shopping deserve systematic and detailed
investigation.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN CONVENTIONAL
BUYING
A number of researchers, mainly in the field of
consumer behavior, have examined individuals’ motivations and orientations to identify major conceptual dimensions for analyzing conventional buying. A
French study with more than 700 adult respondents
reported four dimensions of enduring involvement
with shopping: leisure, economic, social, and apathy
(Bergadaa, Faure, & Perrien, 1995). Women showed
much stronger buying involvement than did men, particularly on the leisure and social dimensions, whereas
men were high on apathy. Babin, Darden, and Griffin
(1994) developed a 15-item scale to measure utilitarian and hedonic values of shopping in a sample of
over 400 U.S. adults. These dimensions show good validity across multiple samples. Utilitarian values reflect concerns with efficiency and effectiveness, and

Dittmar, Long, and Meek
hedonic values capture the “fun” and enjoyment of
buying behavior. Hedonic values appear to be similar to the leisure and social involvement in shopping
identified in the French study. Thus, functional concerns on the one hand, and emotional–social factors
on the other, emerge as two major buying dimensions.
There are reports of gender differences on these dimensions, and it is surprising to note the lack of studies that examine gender explicitly and systematically.
Dittmar and Drury (2000) documented in an in-depth
interview study that shopping seems to play a much
more psychologically and emotionally encompassing
role for women than for men. Campbell (2000) also
reported that women have highly positive attitudes
toward buying and associate it with a leisure frame
whereas men tend to have negative attitudes toward
buying and see it as work that they want to accomplish with minimum input of time and effort. In other
words, women tend to focus on the (often enjoyable)
process of buying, whereas men focus on the outcome
to obtain the actual goods with the least fuss. In summary then, as a general tendency, men are comparatively more motivated by functional factors, whereas
women are more motivated by emotional and social
factors.
This conceptualization of buying dimensions
does not include consumer concerns with identity construction. Yet, there is evidence that consumers are
motivated to buy goods as symbols of who they are or
would like to be, and that there may be gender differences on this dimension. For instance, a U.K. survey
found that a greater proportion of women than men
were classified, according to their typology, as leisure
shoppers who report pleasure, buy a lot on impulse,
and come close to the stereotype “I shop therefore I
am” (Lunt & Livingstone, 1992). More direct support
comes from a recent set of U.K. studies, which developed scales that measure identity-related buying
motivations (Dittmar, 2000, 2001; Dittmar, Beattie, &
Friese, 1996). The motivation to buy consumer goods
in order to express who they are or would like to be
was stronger among women than among men. Expressing identity and searching for a better self through
consumer goods is also proposed to be a core feature
of modern consumption problems, such as compulsive
buying, which affects more women than men (Benson,
2000; Dittmar, in press). This general tendency might
be less strong or even reversed for particular types of
goods, such as tools or computer equipment, which are
predominantly bought by male consumers. Notwithstanding such exceptions, it can be plausibly argued

The likelihood that these gender differences in conventional buying are simply reflected in on-line buying is called into question when the entirely different nature of the Internet as an environment is considered. this is particularly evident in the marketing of. Woodfield. 1998). which is seen primarily as a highly technological male domain (Morahan-Martin. the gender differences discussed so far pertain to the emotional and psychological gratification of buying goods in conventional shops and stores. 2001) showed that young women and men use the Internet equally often. 7 days a week. 1998). than of men. Functional advantages of Internet buying are easy to identify: it is potentially easy to make price comparisons. particularly from the viewpoint of gender. a recent focus group study of Internet nonusers reported that women are more likely to believe that the Internet is complicated and hard to understand (Pew Internet and American Life. First. Clearly. and may affect more strongly the likelihood of women. a recent study (Jackson et al. In November 2000. and European figures suggest that women’s Internet use in the United Kingdom is not far behind: around 40% (Netvalue. More recent surveys in the United States indicate that the gender gap has disappeared. However. Taking these arguments together. buying on-line. or at least do not find this activity as enjoyable as men do. computer-based games. it was reported for the first time that 50% of U. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. Second. they used the Internet more frequently and for longer than female users. However.. emotional–social factors (emotional involvement. we propose that buying motivations can be understood in terms of three main dimensions: functional issues (economy. 2000). there is good reason to expect that female users may not view the experience as positively as their male counterparts. A stereotypically masculine culture has developed around computer use. 2001). overall. there are now equal numbers of men and women Internet users (Pew Internet and American Life. Early research tended to focus on demographic profiles of Internet buyers rather than on their psychological attributes. which continues to be a significant issue (UCLA Internet Report. It may well be the case that women feel less at ease exploring websites. and for a greater variety of reasons (Morahan-Martin. ON-LINE BUYING AND GENDER Predictors of On-Line Buying As Internet buying becomes a realistic possibility for increasingly greater proportions of the population. 2003). at least in terms of traditional gender identity (Fischer & Gainer. 2001). and the few studies that did address buying attitudes tend to be limited to functional advantages of on-line buying or concerns about credit card security. but use it differently: women reported less computer self-efficacy and less favorable attitudes toward computer technology. social interaction).K. 1997. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying that. and one can purchase from a single location at any time: 24 hr a day.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. There were more of them. efficiency). Indeed. 2003). and participation in. Skill and confidence in navigating Internet sites have been identified as important antecedents of positive attitudes toward the Internet as a shopping environment (Childers et al. Such attitudes are likely to generalize to the Internet. Gender differences have been demonstrated in attitudes toward computers generally: male users are more confident. the relative importance of these motivational dimensions is strongly gendered: functional issues are particularly important to men. which followed a similar trend in the United States 3 months previously (Jupiter MMXI. the research is inconsistent regarding the extent . we put forward two central propositions about conventional buying. 2003). Internet users were women. GENDER DIFFERENCES IN ATTITUDES TOWARD COMPUTERS AND INTERNET USE Until a few years ago. 1991). buying consumer goods is more integral to the personal and social identity of women. 2000). Indeed. it is unlikely that they will disappear any time soon. Despite their increasing presence on the Internet.. social image). and identity-related concerns (search for ideal self. this has implications for the democratizing potential and benefits of Internet use. Although gender differences in attitudes toward Internet use may diminish over time with the increased participation of women. and they have more positive 425 attitudes toward computers (Whitley. surveys of Internet users reported that men greatly outnumbered women. researchers have begun to investigate the characteristics and motivations of Internet shoppers. and emotional–social and identity-related motivations are particularly important to women.

almost all studies show that convenience is a primary motivation for Internet purchasing. Some on-line buying studies have investigated hedonic motivations. 1999. but found this to be a strong negative predictor of on-line purchasing frequency: individuals who prefer to deal with people buy on-line less often. but Korgaonkar and Wolin (1999) found that social escapism was one of two predictors of Internet purchasing. 2000. 1998). another on-line survey of Internet users showed that economic orientations did not differentiate nonshoppers from shoppers (Li. it seems na¨ıve to assume that this would not also be the case on the Internet. 1999). or identity-related factors are associated with buying on-line. Kuo. 2001). identifying convenience of access. and Meek et al. The need to see products before purchase was identified as important by 53% of non-ebuyers in the Ernst and Young survey (1999). Finally. Emotional and social attitudes toward on-line buying have been relatively neglected. A recent study that specifically examined on-line buying motivations demonstrated that hedonic concerns are at least as important as utilitarian motivations when people purchase on-line goods other than everyday groceries and household products (Childers et al. and consumers who value these experiential aspects highly were less likely to buy on-line (Li et al. 2002. Usability Centre. On the other hand. Social motives have also been shown to be important in conventional buying. Yet. social. Most surveys report that male consumers outnumber female consumers (Ernst & Young. Given that the three main dimensions identified in conventional . Pew. In summary.. and that Internet shoppers reported deriving enjoyment from the interactive exploration aspects of Internet buying. 2002 426 to which Internet purchasing is entirely motivated by such concerns. 1999. 2003). Li et al. but here again the difference is shrinking rapidly. Pew Internet and American Life. Hardly any previous research has explicitly compared buying motivations of men and women Internet consumers. & Roa. enjoyment of shopping (in general) as a recreational activity did not differentiate Internet shoppers from nonshoppers (Donthu & Garcia. 1999. Childers et al. and there is no previous research on identity-related concerns. Contrary to expectation.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. Long.. but usually without specifying the environment in which the buying activity is carried out. It is not clear how such attitudes would extrapolate to the Internet: people who derive pleasure from conventional buying may be deterred from e-commerce if they believe it to be less emotionally rewarding. and efficiency as significant (Donthu & Garcia. but did not differentiate between buyers and non-e-buyers in Olivero’s (2000) survey. Sky News. Graphics. (2001) showed that consumers’ perception that the Internet provides an acceptable substitute for direct product examination underlies positive attitudes toward on-line buying. 1999). LepowskaWhite.g. such as convenience. An exception is Swaminathan et al. 2002). Visualization. the majority of previous studies on Internet buying are limited because they tend to focus on a narrow range of factors assumed to be of primary importance to Internet buyers. and some recent surveys show even greater numbers of female than male Internet consumers (Pew Internet and American Life. This is surprising. despite the introduction of such Internet retail website features as the ability to e-mail product information to a friend. given that such concerns have been demonstrated to be powerful motivations for conventional shopping. Gender Differences in On-Line Buying Gender differences in Internet use are reflected in the domain of e-commerce. Swaminathan Dittmar. most researchers still conclude that male buyers spend more money and make more frequent purchases than female buyers do (e. (1999) used only a single-item measure of social interaction. Swaminathan.. Donthu and Garcia (1999) found that Internet shoppers were less price conscious than nonshoppers. Whereas one recent survey reported that 60% of on-line shoppers claim to have saved money by buying on-line (Pew Internet and American Life. 1999. 1999). Given that conventional buying motivations of men and women differ significantly. those who believe that Internet buying is (potentially) pleasurable should be more likely to make purchases in this way. the lack of contact with the goods being purchased has been suggested as a potential deterrent to web buying. time saving.. Relatively few studies have considered the extent to which emotional. 2002. Li et al. 1999. 1999). Olivero. (1999). 1999. and there has not been any research that examined gender differences in reasons for not choosing to buy products on the Internet. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. who reported that male Internet buyers were more convenienceoriented and less motivated by social interaction than women Internet buyers. Li et al. 2002). and this aspect is clearly less well facilitated on-line. which suggests that price is less important than other perceived benefits that Internet buying can provide.. Moreover. see also UCLA Internet Report. Understandably. & Russell..

no hypotheses were formulated as such. and who fall predominantly into the 18–25 age group. but do not currently use it to make purchases. 1988) continue to frame shopping and computer use as differentially linked to women and men’s social. the question arose as to whether the computermediated process of buying on-line fits better with men’s consumer motivations (such as convenience and efficiency) than with women’s. particularly in terms of potential barriers or facilitators? Do these relationships differ for male and female consumers? THE PRESENT RESEARCH Two studies of gender differences in conventional and on-line buying motivations are reported in this paper. Although students are probably more limited in their 427 capacity for spending money than are young adults of a comparable age who are in full-time employment. and can therefore be asked to anticipate how they would feel about buying on the Internet. The systematic study of gender differences in the two buying environments addresses a gap in the literature. but have been neglected in previous studies. we offer an exploration of possible barriers to on-line buying by including respondents who have Internet access. who use computers routinely. there are two main questions that need to be addressed. given that students—compared to the general population—are more likely to have challenged or overcome traditional gender role identifications. However. Given the openended nature of this study. Internet audience visit (ComScore Media Matrix. Second. Surveys confirm that Internet use is highest for this age group. It is important to emphasize that our predictions of gender differences should not be misunderstood as an essentialist account of differences between male and female consumers. a student sample offers a particularly stringent test of our gender hypotheses. this difference appears less important for an investigation of motivations—as in the studies reported here—rather than for a survey of purchase frequency. Our concern about overcoming the limitations of previous research through identifying a wider range of buying motivations. by examining differences between conventional and on-line buying as reported by the same individuals.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. Internet use is encouraged in university settings. social. How do buying motivations in conventional shops and stores relate to buying on-line. Rather. thus avoiding the possible limitation of researcher-generated constructs. and gender identities. Third. we address social psychological motivations that are likely to be important in buying. First. particularly related to emotional. based on previous research. suggested a qualitative study as a first step. Moreover. It also seems that there is little difference between the sites that online college students and the general U. . It was also considered likely that women who do not currently buy on-line might express different concerns about Internet buying than might men who do not buy on-line. Some of these may be particularly important for women. in the sense that they are likely to be reasonably well-informed about on-line buying.S. and it has become almost a necessity for students when they search for information or communicate with tutors. They can be seen as “hypothetical” buyers. 88% of 16 to 24-year-olds in the United Kingdom accessed the Internet in a 1-month period in 2001 (Office of National Statistics. We chose to sample students because they constitute a group of young consumers who all have Internet access (through the university if not also at home). 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. 2002). and identity-related needs. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying buying show pervasive gender differences. personal. we are proposing that buying will remain gendered in the way described only as long as cultural norms and social representations (Moscovici. STUDY 1 A qualitative exploration of young women’s and men’s motivations and concerns in on-line as compared to conventional buying from their own perspective allowed us to identify a wide range of positive and negative aspects through spontaneously generated responses. With respect to the Internet. we offer a direct comparison between these two environments as they are perceived by both women and men. the current research makes original contributions because we examine gender-specific patterns in three ways. there were general expectations of gender differences in conventional buying: women would report more emotional and identity-related involvement than would men. In addition. particularly identity-related concerns. particularly in the context of computer use and confidence. The findings could then be used in the development of a more quantitative survey for a second study. and that there are gender differences with respect to using the Internet. 2001).

with an average of 21 years (SD = 2.” This distinction was suggested by the findings of Childers et al. and subsequently with respect to buying on-line. (2) advantages and disadvantages of buying on-line. I can go to 10 shops to look at jeans [119ME]. Typical responses are illustrated by verbatim quotes.. gender was significantly associated with buyer status. and had one blank page to answer each question in an A4 booklet. 2002 428 Method Respondents Participants were students at a U.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. Open-Ended Question Schedule The study was introduced as concerned with students as consumers.K. I like the choice of shops that sell items. efficiency. each with their own associated subthemes: functional issues. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. e. Analytic Method Thematic analysis was carried out on participants’ responses. then what they like or dislike about buying consumer goods on the Internet. and the process was much the same as that used by Dittmar and Drury (2000) for transcribed interviews on consumer behavior.66). and Meek themes and subthemes in the responses in the following areas: (1) advantages and disadvantages of conventional buying. as well as in terms of comparisons between women and men. These subthemes are presented twice: first with respect to the advantages and disadvantages in conventional buying. They were provided with a definition of consumer goods as “all products you buy excluding grocery and household shopping. and identity-related concerns. emotional. The relative prominence of each of these primary themes and subthemes as advantages or disadvantages was identified across the sample as a whole. and social factors. regardless of whether or not they had personal Internet access at home.70. These are consistent with the three main buying dimensions identified earlier. χ 2 = 5. The aim of the analysis was to investigate the emergence of Dittmar. Respondents’ ages ranged from 19 to 34 years. All respondents had free access to the Internet in university-based. Convenience and Efficiency in Conventional Shopping Seventeen percent of respondents. both men and women. Over 95% of participants were White. CDs. Forty-three percent of the sample had made a purchase over the Internet at least once.g. referred explicitly to the ease and speed of conventional shopping and the wide range of goods available: I like the plethora of choices I have [121FN]. computer suites. music items. and buyer status (E = has bought goods on-line in the past and N = has not bought on-line). A total of 113 written accounts were collected: 57 completed by men and 56 by women. and the transactions involved in buying and ordering goods. and they focused mainly on convenience. experiential. open-access. and (3) for those who do not buy online. df = 1. men were more likely than women to report having bought on-line in the past (54% of men. and—if they had never bought on-line—their main reasons for not doing so. Consistent with findings reported in previous studies. Theme 1: Functional Issues Several subthemes emerged under this first main theme. 32% of women). gender (M = male and F = female). The analytic process involved coding of the text to identify recurring themes and then sorting these into a hierarchical order of predominant themes and associated sub. Long. each of which is followed by a reference to the respondent’s questionnaire number. They responded to two (or three) questions. They were asked first to tell us in their own words what they like and dislike about conventional buying. This means consumer goods for your personal use. and respondents were asked to write brief accounts of their experiences of buying consumer goods in the “real world” (defined as conventional shops and stores) and on-line. p < . . (2001). such as clothes. reasons why not. Results Three primary themes emerged and recurred. and between current e-buyers and non-e-buyers.themes. university who responded in writing to a set of open-ended questions on a voluntary basis or in return for course credit.05.

When men described disadvantages. . shortage of stock or the unavailability of particular sizes. I do not waste so much money. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. Being able to compare prices of different brands without walking for miles and searching different shops [145FE]. the particular subtheme of control. information is available. There were three strands to respondents’ concerns: (a) increased spending on the Internet because of transactions that feel “unreal” or additional charges. such as transport and car parking availability. Two-thirds of respondent who discussed this were women: Dislike. because of the “unreal” feel on on-line buying transactions. women were more likely to refer to access problems. When I go shopping for goods I don’t like spending much time doing it. goods. . I like the idea of being able to buy items from own home [165FE]. because everything I buy is carefully thought out beforehand and. Slightly more men than women referred to these aspects. predominantly by women. On-Line Buying Transaction The final subtheme in advantages concerns the purchasing transaction and the increased control afforded by buying on-line. I do not get intimidated to buy other things as I visit only the sites I’m interested in [121FN]. in conjunction with order complications. About 4% of participants. and (c) incorrect or delayed deliveries. ease of ordering and delivery. A smaller number of participants (8%) referred to the danger of increased spending. Very easy to spend a lot. . Both men and women expressed a concern about security of credit card details: 40% of respondents reported such fears. and it was interesting that those who had and had not previously bought on the Internet responded similarly. are great pains [173FN]. . I like the fact that you can usually find what you are looking for [105ME]. You can access web pages of shops that you otherwise couldn’t visit [098FE]. The general inconveniences. detaches you from a sense of actually spending money [137ME]. specifically. highlighted the benefits of being able to compare sites. I like the ease of being able to buy things quickly and effectively [133ME]. if you can find it [092ME]. . 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying At the same time. and at cheaper prices. . can’t find something that you specifically want or find something that you like and then can’t find it in your size [145FE]. in terms of location or parking: 429 Good points are that one can compare sites and products readily. By comparison. also featured as the most prominent disadvantage of buying on-line. Responses. from a wide range of distributors. Convenience and Efficiency in Buying On-Line This was a highly prominent theme: 74% of respondents highlighted the convenient and efficient aspects of Internet buying. and increased access to goods and cheaper prices. referred to increased control of their spending. Over 52% of respondents mentioned one or more of these concerns. and the ability to shop at any time and at home.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. The second subtheme is that of access to a variety of goods. of course. including time saving. they often focused on the time it takes to shop. identified further advantages in terms of two overlapping subthemes—the benefits of browsing and comparison on the Internet. and prices before committing to purchase. Often I’ll buy one of the first things I see [107MN]. almost one-third of respondents identified several disadvantages: the timeconsuming nature of shopping trips as well as the limited access to goods and sizes. (b) doubts about credit card security. There is always a worry of Internet and credit card fraud [141ME]. Yet. nearly all of whom were women. Price Comparisons and Economic Buying On-Line Over one-half of the respondents. . Another disadvantage referred to the goods within the shops. men and women.

dealt with the need to have contact with the goods before purchase. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. Transactions when ordering and buying on-line were not only perceived as disadvantages. Dittmar. reporting dissatisfaction with pestering. Over one-half of the social and experiential responses referred to the pleasure of browsing. direct contact with sales personnel was identified as a disadvantage by almost onequarter of all respondents.. Experiential Dimensions and Social Interaction This subtheme was mentioned by 43% of respondents. and social interaction. Direct Contact in Conventional Shopping This subtheme includes two aspects of direct contact: (a) with the goods and (b) with shop personnel who provide help and consumer support. given by the majority of participants. [097FE]. a day out. fitting of clothes. and it captures two interrelated dimensions: (a) the buying ritual and/or shop atmosphere and (b) the social activity of shopping (e. Don’t trust Internet prices. etc. . CDs). and subsequently with respect to buying on-line. Almost twothirds of respondents (64%) who referred to this advantage were those who had not previously bought on-line.. A prominent subtheme in responses. Shopping trips were seen as a crucial aspect of many respondents’ social lives. as mentioned by 59% of non-e-buyers. You get to try things on/examine/listen to the goods and when you’ve bought them they’re in your hands immediately [101FE]. I dislike pushy sales assistants with their hard sell tactics [224MN]. Both men and women stated that an important advantage of conventional buying was the ability to handle. wandering between shops.. and Social Factors The second primary theme focused on emotional involvement. Buying something that you can pick up and feel is a very positive advantage. Respondents also referred to the social activity of buying. Service is instantaneous. I also dislike moody shop assistants [116FN]. or handle and check the quality of goods as part of the buying process. but also emerged as the main functional barriers to on-line buying. This typically referred to the importance and enjoyment of touching and trying on clothing and shoes. Long. As for the first main theme. and Meek These concerns extended to contact with the product after purchase. and for size and fit especially when considering clothes and footwear [111MN]. I can always get the help from the staff if I need help or have any queries. Furthermore. 2002 430 Finally. or simply appreciating the layout and atmosphere of shops: Like wandering to different locations not knowing what I may buy where [168MN]. but also incorporated the need to smell (e. both in terms of help and advice on purchases (care of fabric. This means I can pay and get a receipt immediately. details—what if something goes wrong? [223MN]. both during and after the purchase. I prefer to check quality. Fifty-seven percent of respondents (over 50% of them were women) referred to at least one of these subthemes. I like buying in real shops best. I can ask specific questions and get specific answers from the sales staff [092ME]. cosmetics). I like to be able to examine the items I buy. anxieties about orders being damaged or delayed in delivery concerned only a small number of respondents. Those who referred to these advantages were more likely to be women (66%) and non-e-buyers (69%). Theme 2: Emotional. pointing out choices and range of products) and in terms of customer service after purchase (exchanges or refunds). including buying atmosphere and direct contact with the goods and sales personnel. with friends). and take home the goods immediately after the purchasing transaction. listen (e. Experiential. some respondents talked about the importance of direct contact with sales personnel. experiential factors. men and women equally. or pushy shop assistants.g. . . At the same time. these are presented as advantages and disadvantages in conventional buying first. rude.g. I can return the good easily with receipt if I am not happy with it [090FE].g.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. use.

were reported by 19% of respondents. was also mentioned. There are too many hidden motives of firms [220MN]. . and noise of other shoppers as troublesome. leisurely activity [128FN]. So buying consumer goods is something of a reward [163FN]. walking distances. Lack of direct contact was the most prominent subtheme. These benefits were reported by 15% of respondents. . It’s a form of escape into a nonrealistic world! [157FE]. By the same token. and shop personnel in conventional shops and stores. I usually buy consumer goods after completing a task. . a majority of respondents (70%)—just over one-half of them women—reported disadvantages that referred to this subtheme at least once. who commented on queues. Sixty-three percent of respondents (men . for example at work or to do with studying. queues. frustration. Traipsing around different shops to find what you’re looking for can be a real chore sometimes [224MN]. and buying was integrated with social interaction and other activities. The analysis of reported disadvantages of buying on-line revealed subthemes that generally mirrored the advantages of conventional buying. Don’t have people trying to push and look as well [007ME]. . The thrill of hunting down a good bargain or an unexpected find. or boredom. three-quarters of them women. Can take as long as you like. Independent Buying On-Line This subtheme encompassed respondents’ frustration with crowds. In terms of environment. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. and carrying bags as disadvantages of conventional buying. advertising. crowds. referred to emotional involvement as an advantage of conventional buying. more than one-half of them men. Dislike getting tired and not finding what you want [122ME]. In other words. two-thirds of them men. shopping was described.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. The emphasis put on spending a huge amount of money. Bargains are stuck in front of you—if you know the right shops you’re bound to find some things you like [117FE]. . Emotional disadvantages. It’s quite a fun. Going shopping can be combined with meeting friends. You don’t feel pressured to buy anything [138FE]. Something can strike your interest that you wouldn’t have thought of picking up otherwise. rushing around and making the whole process a lot harder and a lot more frustrating [118ME]. . and their positive absence when buying on-line. such as eating out. . Annoying if you go out to get a specific item and don’t find it [009FN]. There is too strong a media influence on behavior. such as discontent. physical nature of shopping trips. almost exclusively by women. it’s amazing walking into a shop with all those new and glistening objects. you can window shop even if you’re short of money [178FN]. a magical world of all things NEW [157FE]. as “a buzz” or a thrill. The side of shopping I particularly dislike is the other people getting in my way. such as adverse weather conditions. the perceived disadvantages of buying on-line are largely due to the absence of the reported benefits of conventional buying. First. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying an opportunity to meet friends. referred to the general context of shopping in terms of dissatisfaction with consumerism. the materialistic nature [106FN]. Disadvantages related to contact with other shoppers were reported by over 50% of respondents. 20% of respondents. thus it is of importance to both genders. You can avoid crowds [122ME]. I like actually looking around shops with friends. Finally. Three subthemes were equally prominent. a reward or a distraction—again predominantly by women. Shopping trips were also seen as a form of escapism. particularly during the sales season. . having a drink. It’s all 431 so tempting. The ritual involved. 15% of men and women highlighted the external. and high markups. Emotional Involvement Over 30% of respondents.

this is an important theme. a lack of contact with personnel in terms of help. and over two-thirds were women. Respondents wrote about the difficulty of the buying process as well as boredom and frustration. respondents reported an additional thrill of wearing newly purchased clothes. listening to a new CD or wearing new clothes out. as well as a discontent with the impersonal and unfamiliar arrangement of Internet shopping. Subsequently.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. and over one-half of these respondents (62%) were non-e-buyers. but even if I did I’d rather go out and buy something as you have to get out of the house and meet people you don’t know. in terms of a boost in self-image and self-esteem. the inability to handle the goods immediately after the decision to buy formed a common complaint from 14% of respondents. Identity-related concerns were not voiced in descriptions of the disadvantages of conventional buying. or try on goods before purchase. lack of communication with staff. the impersonal nature of Internet buying and the superiority of conventional buying as reasons why they do not buy on-line. Find clothes shopping boring. Theme 3: Identity-Related Concerns Although not as prominent as the other two themes. Long. Why buy on the Internet if you can buy in shops and really see. dealing with refunds or returns. and projecting a more ideal image to others and to oneself. often linked to mood adjustment and self-esteem enhancement. touch. Dittmar. The main focus was on self-expression. Women made up well over one-half of these respondents. Both women and men reported the pleasure of wearing a new item of clothing after purchase. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. as well as compliments they receive from others. even if it emerged explicitly only in just over 11% of respondents’ accounts. i. 2002 432 and women equally) reported dissatisfaction concerning goods. In addition. Psychologically. It is when I get to use the product that I enjoy the most. I like buying nice clothes and wearing them out that night or the next day [165FE]. I dislike the remote nature of it. in terms of receiving advice. Just under one-third of non-e-buyers referred to the lack of emotional involvement. buying motivations and concerns related to consumer identity did emerge as a distinct third dimension. try. Want the good immediately—I don’t wanna wait! [161ME] Finally. the things you want to buy [153FN].. slightly more men than women mentioned the lack of contact with sales personnel. advice. the prestige of newly acquired goods. Fifty-three percent of participants (slightly more women than men) reported the need to see. especially if I am complimented on them [118ME]. This final theme signifies the manner in which respondents reported advantages of conventional buying in terms of social and personal identity. 42% of non-e-buyers reported the lack of contact with goods before purchase. feel. but very satisfying after the event when I own a new outfit [186MN]. increasing self-esteem. They also did not get explicit mention in descriptions of either advantages or disadvantages of buying on-line. I like shopping for clothes. In terms of barriers to buying on-line. women made over two-thirds of these complaints. and customer service was seen as a disadvantage. . predominantly before purchase (not being able to try on or touch goods) and to a lesser extent afterward (no contact following transaction). to feel better about myself when wearing these new clothes [187FE]. Almost three-quarters (74%) of these respondents were non-e-buyers. Subthemes related to (a) bringing new goods home or wearing new clothes when going out and (b) receiving compliments or feeling better about oneself because of the new goods. or a more “human touch” in general. or how buying can make one feel better about oneself. I would rather have the human touch of store shopping or even telephone ordering [213ME]. I feel this is very important socially [169FN].e. The lack of social or experiential dimensions in on-line buying was mentioned by 30% of participants—the inability to experience the social aspects of shopping and browsing. This incorporates the ways in which purchases relate to the ideal self. Furthermore. and having to wait for delivery as factors. and Meek I don’t know how to even begin shopping via computers.

a further theme—not related to buying motivations—that emerged repeatedly in descriptions of disadvantages of Internet buying and barriers to it were issues of computer handling. One-third of non-e-buyers reported a lack of confidence or trust in using computers or the Internet. in terms of getting to sites and finding information on products. Second. In contrast. in which the actual ownership of the products forms a comparatively small part. differences between actual and “anticipating” on-line buyers were more prominent than in conventional buying. just clicking buttons to buy [009FN]. The exceptions to this pattern are subthemes related to emotional discontent and hassles involved in buying. Not as enjoyable as going shopping—just looking at a screen in a room. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying Further Disadvantages of. that has to be endured as a means to achieve the main goal of buying: getting the goods. 2000) that women tend to see conventional shopping as an encompassing and psychologically involving activity and experience.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. computer-handling issues were described as barriers to buying on-line: 19% of non-ebuyers gave reasons that concerned a lack of knowledge about appropriate retail sites or means of accessing information on goods. there are three findings of the thematic analysis that are both important and not reported in previous studies. women tended to highlight more positive aspects of buying with fewer references to disadvantages. were mentioned by almost 10% of respondents. The majority of responses for most themes came from women. Although respondents referred to credit card . barrier to buying online. Buying On-Line Finally. In summary. Discussion In terms of an overall comparative evaluation. and understanding computers and the Internet or to a general dislike of using the technology associated with Internet use. as well as computer handling issues. particularly in relation to the lack of direct contact and social– experiential aspects. 433 which possibly acts as a disincentive to engage in online buying. lack of confidence. Furthermore. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. Two-thirds of these respondents were women. A significant proportion of responses referred to physical problems with access. Perhaps not surprisingly. whereas men responded less overall. both men and women described more disadvantages than advantages of Internet buying. at least not any longer. women again offered more responses—both negative and positive— than did men.. men frequently depicted shopping trips as an arduous and distasteful task. using. Prominent differences emerged in terms of gender. those who had not previously bought on-line reported more disadvantages of. Descriptions of computer-handling difficulties as a disadvantage came predominantly from non-e-buyers (70%). but more in terms of the emotional disadvantages of shopping. who wrote more fully and eloquently than men. men’s— responses reflected a general mistrust. women frequently stated explicitly that the good aspects of shopping easily offset the negative aspects.. In addition. First. First. Furthermore. Our analysis supports the claim made by some previous researchers (Campbell. access problems. the thematic analysis of advantages and disadvantages of conventional buying showed some differences between actual and “anticipating” on-line buyers. Your decision can only be based upon what information is made available [092ME]. or a lack of access to the appropriate technology as barriers to buying on-line. best carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible. 2000. In summary. As regards buying on-line. Dittmar & Drury. and barriers to. women’s—and. Internet buying. Current non-e-buyers referred to more advantages than disadvantages of conventional buying. which occurred more frequently in men’s accounts of disadvantages than in women’s. Men and women alike mentioned this theme. it seems that security during the buying transaction on the Internet is not the only. and they often concluded that the shortcomings of Internet shopping outweighed the benefits and that the experience of conventional buying was generally superior to buying on-line. Whereas there was no difference with respect to advantages. Negative computer handling issues included two subthemes. or dislike of sitting at a computer screen to shop. which may indicate that they have a particularly positive view. Slow and time consuming when loading pages [139FN]. or even the main. and Barriers to. which were mentioned by 27% of respondents. particularly concerning advantages of conventional buying and positive emotional and social involvement. to a lesser extent. as stipulated in earlier research.

which suggests genderspecific patterns. perceived advantages of conventional buying. whereas the other motivations would be weaker online. Men were expected to place more emphasis on functional than emotional–experiential–social and identityrelated buying motivations. whereas women were expected to show either equally balanced or opposite preferences. and identity-related concerns. whereas men focused on efficiency and convenience in obtaining buying outcomes: the actual products. 1996) or formulated on the basis of Study 1. 2002 434 security as a concern. and therefore may present gender-specific barriers to on-line buying. The majority of respondents who referred to negative computer handling issues were not currently buying on-line. these were less pronounced. with specific hypotheses only in appropriate places.. Thus. The impact of shopping environment on buying motivations. Women may be particularly concerned with the relative absence of emotional. the increase in the sheer number as well as complexity of sites is experienced as overwhelming.g. emotional and experiential–social factors.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. When we compared conventional and on-line buying motivations in current e-buyers. For women. Although there were some gender differences with respect to Internet buying. There are now additional issues that emerge clearly. women reported emotional and psychological involvement in the whole shopping and buying process. Finally. and social gratification in the Internet buying environment. and previous studies have neglected to distinguish systematically between the two different buying environments: conventional and Internet. Specific hypotheses can be formulated only with respect to gender differences in conventional buying and differences between the two buying environments for certain dimensions. we expected that functional motivations would be more important for on-line than for conventional buying. Clearly. Some of the buying motivations have not been examined previously in the context of on-line buying. Gender differences in conventional buying. examine systematically gender differences in the relationships between motivations in conventional and on-line buying. and Meek are gender-specific patterns in conventional motivations that discriminate between e-buyers and non-ebuyers. e-mailing) does not appear to lead automatically to ease and competence in surfing. These seem particularly important to women. negotiating. Study 2 addresses several gaps in the research literature. It stands to reason that initial consumer concern about credit card security has been alleviated through reassurances by web retailers and through personal experience.g. Overall. Long. Gender-specific patterns in the impact of buying environment on motivations and barriers to buying on-line are a matter of empirical examination. The findings of Study 1 suggest that the impact of shopping environment may be more powerful for women than for men. Dittmar et al. particularly concerning the less psychologically involving nature of the Internet. may function as barriers to buying on-line. Babin et al. This forms a useful foundation on which to build a more quantitative approach that can assess the relative importance of different motivations. there was no difference in concern between those who did and did not buy on-line. we formulated four sets of general expectations or research questions. and some aspects of computer handing difficulties were reported more often by women. such as emotional involvement and social–experiential benefits. The second interesting finding is that general competence in computer use— evident in our sample—is not sufficient for understanding specific issues concerning Internet buying: routine use (e.. The buying motivations selected for this study fall into three main categories that reflect the three primary themes identified in Study 1: functional issues.. This means that they have neither directly compared the buying experience of the same individuals in these two environments nor examined whether conventional buying motivations act as barriers or facilitators of buying on-line. Scale items for assessing each theme were either adapted from previous studies (e. Comparing e-buyers’ and non-e-buyers’ on-line motivations. there is an indication that the buying environment may play a much more important role for women consumers whereas men may be able to fulfill their main concerns relatively easily in either environment. the gendered nature of conventional buying emerged clearly. A further research question addressed by Study 2 is whether there is a significant difference . and understanding retail sites. in terms of lack of direct contact and social–experiential buying dimensions. word processing. STUDY 2 Qualitative research is valuable in obtaining response diversity and identifying major buying motivations for consumers. tactile. and explore whether there Dittmar. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. 1994.

excitement.K. χ 2 = 12. getting prestige). from 1 = disagree strongly to 6 = agree strongly). given the possibility that conventional buying motivations may act as barriers or facilitators of on-line buying. first with reference to conventional buying. They were 124 women and 116 men. but may differ for others. that is. and their average age was 21.7%). impress friends. feel more like person I want to be) and. or quick and easy access to consumer information.3%).86. on the other. such as buying experience. These consisted of emotional involvement in shopping as a pleasurable activity in which the actual purchase of goods can be of secondary or even little importance (e. Thus. df = 1. given that Study 1 confirmed that people who routinely use computers and the Internet have established attitudes toward on-line buying. On the one hand.001. On the basis of Study 1. contact and social interaction that may be linked. The second. leisure activity. better mood). consumers may want to buy consumer goods as a way of moving closer to an ideal self (e.8%) had bought on the Internet at least once.. These were designed to tap three main dimensions. of whom over 95% were White. as in Study 1. The second main dimension focused on emotional and experiential–social factors. compared to over one-half of the men (65. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. Participants were provided with the same definition of consumer goods as used in Study 1. the proportion of men who had made Internet purchases was significantly greater than that of women.75 years (sd = 4. It is possible that. speed and efficiency. they were instructed to complete the remainder of the question- 435 naire hypothetically. fun. they can see goods as a means of improving social image and social standing (e. They took a variety of degree programs. to anticipate how they would feel if they did buy on the Internet. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying between the actual experience of on-line buying and consumers’ anticipation of what on-line buying will be like. Method Respondents Two hundred and forty students at the same U. constant access). The questionnaire was introduced as a study on “students as consumers.g. They were told to expect that their views might be similar for some statements. which included economic concerns about the “rational” benefits of goods (e. women would experience greater barriers to buying on-line. buzz.. even if they have not engaged in it as yet. saving time. Predicting Internet buying from conventional buying. Comparisons between e-buyers’ and none-buyers’ on-line motivations allowed us to assess whether non-e-buyers hold unrealistic expectations or unwarranted concerns that function as barriers that prevent them from buying on-line. and second with reference to buying online. In terms of using the Internet to purchase consumer goods. The first section recorded demographics and whether participants use the Internet to make purchases. had bought on the Internet.g. and experiential–social dimensions. enjoyment of browsing without buying). such as excitement of tracking down a particular item.” and the introductory paragraph referred to the importance of consumption in everyday life and the predicted exponential increase in Internet purchasing in the United Kingdom.g. such that about one-third of women (34..g. Respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they agree or disagree with each statement (on 6-point scales.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13.. and main. we explored whether conventional buying motivations could discriminate between young adult consumers who do and do not buy on the Internet.g. and as an activity that arouses emotions and can be used to regulate one’s mood (e. given their buying motivations. almost one-half of the sample (45. we expected that valuing contact and social experience might be important barriers to buying on-line whereas efficiency and convenience priorities might act as facilitators. and whether these patterns differ between men and women. efficiency and convenience (e. usefulness). Finally. university took part in Study 2 on a voluntary basis or in return for course credit... and information acquisition and exploration. The first concerned functional issues. good value for money.31). particularly for women consumers. there were gender differences. which captures potentially important dimensions of Internet buying. as it offers less emotional involvement and social contact. which included motivations for buying consumer goods. The final dimension of identity-related concerns includes both social and personal identity. If they had never bought on the Internet. which asked them . Questionnaire and Procedure The questionnaire consisted of two sections. price comparison.g. However. part of the questionnaire consisted of a set of statements. p < .

124 . and .48). Dittmar. as Cronbach’s alphas were acceptable to good for most of them. A set of orthogonal contrasts on the motivation factor was used to examine this interaction further by examining in detail the relative importance to women and men of the three key dimensions—functional. identity (X = 3. 238) = 19. separately for conventional and on-line buying. p < .21). one for each environment. In addition. . which is meaningful. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. .44.08).30.21). and Meek ficiency are functional issues. identity-related concerns do play a role in conventional buying. The second comparison contrasted identity-related concerns with emotional and experiential–social factors and found that whereas identity is relatively less important to both genders. The five factors fit well with the three main categories proposed: economic concerns and ef- 3 It is worth noting that there are significant intercorrelations between factors in the real world: positive links within functional issues (economic concerns and efficiency. η2 = . both types of motivations are equally important overall. and—in order—they are direct contact (X = 4. The hypothesis that some motivations are more important to women and others to men was supported by a significant interaction between gender and motivation. and social–experiential concerns are more important to women than to men. Results Preliminary Analysis on Dimensions of Buying Motivations Questionnaire items were first examined by exploratory factor analysis. and. there are a number of negative associations between dimensions from the two different main categories (efficiency and emotional. and identity-related concerns. 1.16). r = −. The most central contrast shows that identity-related. 952) = 30. η2 = .73 (C) and . r = .37).92). r = −.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. when gender is not taken into account.05. efficiency and social–experiential.001. CFI = . and for on-line buying (I). p < .66. F(1. and—for on-line buying— separately for actual and anticipating buyers. emotional and identity-related. factors are far less interconnected on-line. 238) = 0. emotional– social. which is consistent with women’s greater involvement in conventional buying. A small number of items that did not load strongly on any factors were discarded as a consequence. that is. CFI = . and five dimensions were identified.83. only a single within-category correlation was found: between emotional and identity-related dimensions (r = . .07. motivations were stronger for women than for men. for Internet buying. Gender Differences in Conventional Buying Motivations Scale means were analyzed by a 2 (gender) × 5 (motivation) ANOVA with repeated measures on the second factor. and identity-related concerns emerged as a separate factor.59. the means are shown in Fig. 952) = 100. Thus.34. r = .48). emotional involvement (X = 4. coefficients were also computed separately for current as compared to anticipating buyers. Overall. F(4. whereas the two functional factors are more important to men than to women.92 (C) and . Reliability analyses confirmed that these five factors can be treated as scales.01.001.33. 2002 436 to exclude grocery and household shopping and concentrate on consumer goods for personal use.72 (I) for identity-related. Long.54 (C) and .42 (I) for economic concerns. and the “quick and easy access to information” item became part of the convenience and efficiency dimension. 4 Main effects were also significant. but nevertheless acceptable. r = −.001. p < . Factor loadings are similar across the two buying environments (see the Appendix)3 .19. efficiency (X = 3. but no differences emerged. Thus. It is interesting to note that this difference between functional and psychological motivations is not significant for the motivation main effect. F(1.65 (C) and . F(1. social–experiential and identity-related. even if less powerfully than the other factors. women differentiate more strongly between these two types of motivations than men do. 238) = 55. but are less central to the concerns of this paper. Reliability coefficients were . η2 = .32). finally. F(4. r = . For on-line buying.60 (I) for efficiency. the goodnessof-fit statistics indicate a slightly worse. economy (X = 4. In contrast. We carried out two confirmatory factor analyses using structural equation modeling. fit (RMSEA = . For conventional buying (C). Scale means were computed for each of the five factors and used in subsequent data analysis. η2 = . emotional. Some motivations were stronger than others.59 (I) for experiential– social.60 (C) and .06.001. Participants were assured that their responses would be treated confidentially and that they could withdraw from the study at any time.82 (I) for emotional involvement. economic and emotional. . p < . as well as within psychological concerns (social–experiential and emotional. the model provided a good fit (RMSEA = .53).86). r = . compared to conventional buying.13. The exploration and information acquisition cluster did not stand up as a separate dimension. ns. emotional involvement and social experience constitute social-emotional factors.38.

12. particularly emotional involvement. replicates the findings for men reported in the previous section. To summarize gender differences in conventional buying. functional concerns are more important than psychological motivations. environment did not have an impact overall on men’s buying motivations.001. p < . F(1. F(1. In terms of main effects. 2. 66) = 1. Functional concerns both increase. that is. 264) = 28.78.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13.001.001. η2 = .21. 1. 66) = 64. whereas there is no gender-specific pattern for the final contrast between the two functional factors.69. F(1. p < . and the same set of orthogonal comparisons as in the previous analysis was carried out.47.06. It is worth noting that emotional involvement is not strongly affected. η2 = .08. F(1. The Impact of Shopping Environment Conventional and On-Line Buying Motivations in Current e-Buyers. but also identity-related concerns. η2 = . ns. The drop in experiential–social motivation is greater than for emotional involvement. η2 = . the pattern of men’s motivations in conventional buying becomes more pronounced when buying on-line.14. 66) = 11.50. p < . and the strong effect of some motivations being more important than others. p < . Of most interest is the significant interaction. as functional concerns become more important and psychological motivations less important. functional motivations increase on-line. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. compared to conventional buying. F(1. so that their motivations could be contrasted directly. within-respondent. η2 = . F(1.27. The third contrast showed that the gender gap on emotional involvement is much more pronounced than that for the experiential–social motivation.57.00.45. p < . whereas women place more emphasis on psychological motivations. The first contrast shows that. The impact of shopping environment on buying motivations was assessed separately for men and women by 5 (motivation) × 2 (environment) ANOVAs with repeated measures on both factors. p = . Means are shown in Fig.70. men are more concerned with functional motivations. 66) = 1. η2 = .001.05. Second. 238) = 14. F(4. 264) = 55. whereas psychological motivations become less important. because it shows that the impact of buying environment differs depending on the type of buying motivation. The analyses reported in this section are limited to those respondents who had experience of online buying.02.28. F(1. 2). F(1. between buying on-line and buying in conventional shopping environments. η2 = . p < . 238) = 20. η2 = . but do not show a differential pattern. the difference between identity-related concerns and emotional–social–experiential factors is greater in conventional buying than in on-line.001.001. ns. Gender differences in conventional buying motivations. 66) = 4.06. ns. 238) = 0. F(4.30 (see means in Fig. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying 437 Fig. In summary. .

21. p < . this effect is produced by the strong decreases in emotional and experiential–social motivations when women buy on-line. As for men. but the effect size is less than half that found for men. Long. F(4. 2. p < . However.17. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. environment did have a significant main effect on women’s buying motivations. 42) = 8. 168) = 8.45.01. and Meek Fig. Buying motivations in conventional vs. such that there is a drop in importance.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. η2 = . η2 = . on-line shopping environments. 2002 438 Dittmar.001. some of women’s motivations are more important overall than others.45. and therefore has to be understood in the context of the powerful . In contrast to men. which suggests that buying on-line is less involving overall than conventional buying. F(1.

04) 4. 456) = 3. given that women report a reversal of motivational concerns (functional motivations become more important than psychological ones on-line). η2 = . η2 = . η2 = .35.88) 2. p < .06. 122) = 0.95) 4. F(1. it shows that anticipated emotional involvement on-line is lower among non-ebuyers that the actual involvement reported by ebuyers whereas the opposite is true for experiential– social motivations.79) 4.03) 3.17. ns. η2 = . Two findings are central in summarizing the differences in gender-specific reactions to shifting from conventional buying to the Internet. Emotional– social–experiential motivations decrease.05) 3. First. 42) = 1. p < .82 (0. We did this to explore whether unwarranted or unrealistic expectations may act as barriers against buying on-line.98. but weaker.92) 4.00 (1. F(4.03 (see means in Table I).01. some motivations were more important than others. 456) = 4. their orientations resemble the pattern found for men. whereas men’s motivational concerns are amplified—rather than changed—in the shift from conventional to online buying.26. p < . The findings for the first contrast are even stronger for women than for men.93 (1. ns. η2 = .85 (0.84 (0.01. η2 = . the gap closes on-line.93) 3.92 (0. 114) = 0. F(1.62) 4.52 (0.82 (0. p = . the overall difference between men who had and had not bought on-line was not significant. F(4. respectively. which suggests that the drop in emotional involvement and social experience has the effect that identity concerns become equally important. and functional concerns increase.51.93.17 (1.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. 488) = 66.01) 4.001. ns.37. buying environment seems to have a much stronger effect on women than on men.86 (0. 2). In terms of a main effect.03 (see means in Table I).75) 4.18 (0. F(4. least for certain motivations. this order reverses when women buy on-line. and the combined emotional–social–experiential motivations. The main difference accounting for this interaction is that women report and anticipate similar levels of emotional involvement on-line. women’s motivational concerns do not only change. The second contrast within psychological motivations reveals an interesting finding for women. F(1.44. There is an interesting reversal of motivational priorities.95.95) Note. Experience and Anticipation: Comparing e-Buyers’ and Non-e-Buyers’ On-Line Motivations This part of the analysis addresses the question of whether the actual experience of buying on-line is different from how men and women anticipate it to be. 122) = 7. including the same set of orthogonal contrasts as before. F(1.48. conducted separately for men and women.001. 42) = 2.6 but the interaction between buyer status and motivation again was significant.01. Although emotional and social–experiential factors are more important than functional concerns in conventional buying. depending on motivation. 168) = 45. p < . 5 As before.80) 3. F(1. Thus. some motivations were more important than others.11) 2.88) 4. ns.89) 4. p < .61 (1. p < . In this case. whereas psychological motivations decrease.48. F(1. Although identity-related concerns are also less important than emotional–social– experiential factors in conventional buying. although equally weakly. Only one of the four contrasts yielded a significant result. η2 = .46 (0. In summary. but differences appear minor.26. 456) = 132. e-Buyers’ Actual and Non-e-Buyers’ Expected On-Line Motivations (by Gender) Men Motivation Identity Emotion Experiential– social Economy Efficiency Women e-Buyer Non-e-buyer e-Buyer Non-e-buyer 2. no overall difference emerged between women who had and had not bought on the Internet. but they also come to resemble those of men. but neither set of factors shows a differential pattern. interaction suggests that there is some difference.67.001.02. 42) = 32. Second.85.08) 2. F(4. 114) = 6.001. p < .5 but the significant. F(1.97) 3.52 (see means in Fig.48 (0.84 (1. 6 As before.001. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. F(1. η2 = . on the other. Put differently. . they show that functional motivations increase on-line.29 (1.47 (0.12 (0.93. The contrast between identity on the one hand. with the possible exception of identity.44 (1. η2 = .01. As for women. p < .06. F(4. it is possible that non-e-buyers’ expectation of less emotional involvement when buying on-line (compared to what is reported by current e-buyers) may act as a potential barrier. This was examined by 2 (buyer status) × 5 (motivation) ANOVAs with repeated measures on the second factor.54. buying environment appears to have a stronger impact on women’s than men’s motivations. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying interaction between motivations and environment.99) 3. is significant for the same reason. if weak. we expected systematic differences between e-buyers and non-e-buyers. Values in parentheses represent standard deviation. whereas non-ebuyers expect higher experiential–social motivation.09 (0.00) 3. at 439 Table I. 42) = 83.

especially social experiential concerns. p < . experiential–social.18 (Nagelkerke).91.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. become less important. and identity-related aspects. Discussion Men are more functional in their buying attitudes in conventional shops and stores than are women. −2LL = 138. The logistic regression was therefore rerun with these three dimensions. This suggests that men’s on-line buying is not particularly associated with barriers or facilitators rooted in conventional buying. and Meek e-buyers. this is a formidable motivational barrier for women. The environment in which buying takes place has a much stronger impact on women than on men. with a one-scale-point drop on the experiential–social dimension. emotional involvement.35) increases more than twofold (2. nor do these findings help to understand why more men than women buy on-line. can discriminate between consumers who currently buy on the Internet and those who do not. we may need to look for an explanation in men’s and women’s conventional buying motivations. and this may mean that the actual experience of on-line buying offers less in terms of this motivation than women anticipate. Clearly. which suggests that the likelihood of buying on-line is higher amongst those men who particularly value efficient and convenient buying. that identityrelated motivations make it more likely that women buy on-line. Thus. who should be less likely than general population samples to express gender-stereotypical attitudes. This produced a significant model. one for men and one for women. only concern with efficiency reaches marginal significance as a predictor.48. Overall. experiential– social needs emerged by far as the strongest predictor. in particular. Nonetheless. conventional buying attitudes do not discriminate amongst current e-buyers and non-e-buyers. the lack of gender differences is striking. first.49. Finally. p<. which shows that the likelihood of being an e-buyer in this sample (. Long. In summary. and psychological motivations. where the likelihood of being an e-buyer is bolstered by .83. −2LL = 143. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. which suggests that men do not experience the on-line buying environment as dampening their hedonic enjoyment. men’s emotional involvement in buying is hardly affected by environment. with explained variance estimates of .13 (Cox & Snell) and . which are temporally prior to on-line motivations. It should be noted that these attitudinal differences are still characteristic of young consumer samples. These findings. strong identity-needs are an motivational facilitator of on-line buying. and second.05. the overall model was no longer significant. Thus.42. the only noteworthy difference between e-buyers and non-ebuyers occurred in terms of the experiential–social motivation.005. their pattern of buying motivations is amplified on the Internet rather than . However. and three dimensions emerged as significant predictors of on-line buying: concern with efficiency. as is the finding that there are only minor differences between actual and anticipated on-line buying. it is unlikely that the lack of direct experience or social contact on the Internet will be a strong deterrent for male consumers. p < .4% of women were correctly classified as either e-buyers or non- Dittmar. and. it does not seem to be unrealistic or unwarranted expectations of on-line buying that act as major barriers for non-e-buyers. which are highly gendered. the overall model with five buying dimensions was significant. that psychological motivations in conventional buying act as barriers and facilitators of on-line buying for women. p < . Thus. η2 = .29). B = −. Clearly. where 73.01. B = −.22. p < . the environment does have an effect on men’s buying attitudes: functional motives become even more important on-line than in conventional buying. 2002 440 F(1. This was followed by identity-related concerns.001. Instead. p < .001.06. The five buying dimensions were entered simultaneously as predictors into two logistic regression analyses. Predicting Internet Buying From Conventional Buying The final research question to be addressed was whether conventional buying motivations. Further. whereas women stress social–experiential and identity-related concerns. which shows that the likelihood of buying on-line is slightly higher amongst women who particularly value efficient and convenient buying. B = .06. p < .05. there is a marginal effect for efficiency concerns.11. for men. which confirmed the hypothesized gender differences in conventional buying attitudes. −2LL = 145.21 with a one-scale-point increase. that is.03. To summarize these results. For women. Although the overall model is significant for male consumers. when the analysis was rerun with only this one (marginally) significant dimension. the main findings to emphasize are. B = −. are consistent with previous research. 122) = 3.48. p = .

Comparison of Internet buying motivations reported by men who have bought on-line with the anticipated motivations of men who have not yet bought on-line revealed only one minor difference: hypothetical buyers anticipated less emotional involvement than that experienced by the current buyers.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13. women’s shopping attitudes are markedly more similar to men’s on-line than they are in the real world. on-line buying attitudes do not appear to offer an explanation of why more men than women buy on the Internet. whereas social–experiential concerns are a very important barrier. gender differences in on-line buying motivations are modest compared to conventional buying. Given that men’s buying attitudes remain relatively stable across buying environment. Similarities between the findings from the qualitative and quantitative investigations add confidence to the validity and consistency of our conclusions. and efficiency—acts as a facilitator for women’s on-line buying. 2001) of young adults’ Internet buying in several countries indicates that the samples in our studies are more likely to have bought on-line than is average for their age group in the United Kingdom (22%). GENERAL DISCUSSION A recent survey (Angus Reid. It is interesting that identity-related concerns also emerged as a significant discriminator between current and nonbuyers for women consumers. convenience. In contrast to this barrier. and their lack as a serious drawback of the Internet. but— in contrast—possibly an underestimation of on-line constraints. Thus. whereas attaching importance to social– experiential aspects of conventional buying is a clear barrier to on-line consumption. If they value identity-related functions of goods in conventional buying. concern with efficiency emerged as a mild facilitator: women who 441 are more concerned with efficiency in conventional buying are also more likely to have bought on-line. For women. and the extent to which social–experiential factors are important to women discriminates between those who do and do not buy on-line. who in the qualitative study reported many irritating and frustrating aspects of such . Once women engage in online buying. the shift from conventional to on-line buying entails greater attitudinal change for women. The overall finding that differences between actual and anticipated on-line buying are only minor suggests that non-e-buyers do not hold unrealistic or inaccurate expectations of what on-line buying will be actually like. our samples are comparable in this respect to young adults in the United States. 2002 Gender Differences in On-Line and Conventional Buying fundamentally altered. It may be the case that a focus on identity-serving functions of consumer goods leads women to be less concerned about the relative lack of hedonic and experiential benefits of on-line buying. There is an interesting reversal of motivational priorities. In fact. which may explain why their overall involvement in shopping appears to be reduced on the Internet. Thus. In fact. Identity-related motives are affected less strongly than the other psychological motives by the change in buying environment. this order reverses when women buy on-line. social–experiential attitudes emerged as a strong predictor: women who value this aspect of conventional buying are less likely to be online buyers. but nonbuyers reported stronger social–experiential concerns than did current buyers. there is an increase in the importance of functional concerns on the Internet. concern with efficiency and identity-related dimensions in conventional buying are facilitators of online buying. then women were more likely to have tried buying on-line. For women consumers. Valuing functional benefits of conventional buying—economy. their underlying attitudes resemble those of male e-buyers. Thus. whereas women’s do not. Attitudes toward conventional buying seem particularly important for women consumers. on-line buying rates for the samples in both Studies 1 and 2 are similar to the 43% average reported for young adults in the United States. it is not surprising that the logistic regression of conventional buying attitudes failed to discriminate between men who do and do not currently buy on the Internet. The dramatic reduction of gender differences in on-line buying is apparent in both studies. Social–experiential aspects are seen as an important benefit of conventional buying. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. Social contact during conventional buying is a double-edged sword— particularly for men. Whereas emotional–social–experiential factors are more important than functional concerns in conventional buying. and a strong decline in emotional and social– experiential motivations. There was no difference in actual and anticipated emotional involvement. Furthermore. Anticipating more social–experiential engagement than is actually offered by buying on-line does not imply a barrier. which means that our findings may be generalizable to young Internet users beyond the United Kingdom. Men’s attitudes stay much the same in both buying environments. Differences between women current e-buyers and non-ebuyers were also rather modest.

44 . even when I do not intend to buy something . Long.59 . It may well be that men expect that the Internet will allow them to avoid those social aspects of conventional buying that they experience as negative. but. 2004 22:58 Style file version June 3rd. but emerged as a separate buying dimension in the survey. and some retail websites aimed at women consumers already attempt to incorporate more . clearly deserves attention in future research.47 . and Meek APPENDIX: FACTORS IN CONVENTIONAL AND ON-LINE BUYING Factor loadings Scale Functional issues Economic Efficient Emotional involvement and social experience Social–experiential Emotional Conventional On-Line Scale item .61 .82 .76 .59 .70 . this may protect them from particular disadvantages of buying on-line (which are discussed below). Identity-related concerns did not emerge strongly in the qualitative study. shopping and buying things is an important leisure activity Compared to other things I could do.71 . not because I have to but because I want to I enjoy browsing and looking at things.86 .42 . and instant access from a single location.47 I like to buy things which impress other people I buy consumer goods because they give me “prestige” I want to buy things which make me feel more like the person want to be Identity contact.45 .57 . to adapt to on-line buying than men. may mean that they will not benefit from some of its positive aspects: better information search. Increasing women’s participation in on-line buying (outside grocery shopping) is likely only with attitude changes. Internet retailers who particularly aim at a female market ought to take these needs into account.56 .84 .46 . they did appear as an important motivational facilitator for women’s on-line buying in the survey. as a consequence. This apparent tension between the lack of respondents’ spontaneous reports concerning identity and its identification as a predictor of on-line buying.54 .75 . freedom from time pressure.27 .61 . yet men were more likely to buy on-line than women. and this needs further examination. buying consumer goods is truly enjoyable Buying things arouses my emotions and feelings I like to shop. It is interesting that. at least for women.51 . and they may therefore anticipate a different— and more positive—emotional involvement on the Internet. 2002 442 Dittmar.78 . or be less willing. on the other.31 I like to compare prices carefully before I buy It is important to me that the goods I buy are value for money Goods I buy have to be useful and practical I want buying to be as fast and as efficient as possible Saving time while buying goods is very important to me It is important to me that I can buy things whenever I choose to Buying things this way avoids hassles . On the one hand.74 .71 . Motivational barriers to on-line buying may be even stronger in groups of nonstudent women.63 .82 .83 . such that social–experiential needs are seen to be better met. price and product comparisons.P1: JLS Sex Roles [sers] pp1103-sers-480107 February 13.22 .76 . convenience. it may hamper their full and equal participation in Internet shopping and.82 . although they were not mentioned in the qualitative study in the context of buying on-line.72 .50 I need to see and touch consumer goods before I buy them The “feel” of the place I buy things is important to me It is important to me to have contact with people when I make purchases I wouldn’t want to buy clothes without trying them on first Shopping is fun and exciting I get a real buzz from buying things I often buy things because it puts me in a better mood For me. perhaps because they are not completely aware of them.41 .35 . The respondents in the studies reported here constitute a sample of young consumers who are highly computer-literate and fairly at ease with computer handling. Identity-related concerns may therefore be underlying attitudes that respondents do not detail spontaneously when asked about their buying motivations.74 . suggests that women may find it harder.43 . and the reversal of motivational priorities.59 .74 .63 .57 . Their change in attitudes from conventional to on-line buying.58 .83 .

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