KEY POINTS:

  • Men drive nearly as much e-commerce spending in the U.S. as women: The conventional wisdom holds that women should be the key target for e-commerce companies, since they control 80% to 85% of household spending. But women's lopsided advantage fades when it comes to online buying. In 2010, comScore estimated that women account for $6 out of every $10 spent online. In 2012, a Greenfield survey found that women account for 58% of online spending in the U.S.
  • Men are more likely to make purchases on mobile devices. Fifty-seven percent of women made a purchase online in 2013, compared to 52% of men, according to a study conducted by SeeWhy. But 22% of men made a purchase on their smartphones last year, compared to 18% of women. And 20% of men bought something on a tablet, while the percentage for women was 17%.
  • Many men say they would like to shift all their spending online. 40% of American men aged 18 to 34 said they would "ideally buy everything online," compared to only 33% of women. 
  • Millennials, those consumers aged 18 to 34, remain the key age demographic for online commerce, spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. They spend around $2,000 annually on e-commerce. This, despite having lower incomes than older adults. They also spend a higher percentage of their income online: 5% for older millennials, compared to 4% for those between 35 and 47 (Gen X), and even lower for boomers. 
  • But older adults, particularly Gen X shoppers, need to be taken into account, because of their large numbers and higher incomes. Those aged 35 to 44 are overrepresented in the online shopper population (they are 23% of the online shopper population, but only 18% of the general population). They spend about $1,930 annually online, just $70 less than the millennial cohort. 
  • Boomers and seniors have adopted mobile commerce. One in four mobile shoppers in the U.S. is over the age of 55. That's about even with their share of the overall U.S. population. 
  • Online shoppers tend to live in households with higher-than-typical incomes. An Experian survey found that 55% of e-commerce shoppers in the U.S. live in households with incomes above $75,000 (40% were in households earning $100,000 and above). The median household income in the U.S. is around $50,000, according to the Census. 

Introduction

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