Women Were Assumed to be Shopping Spendthrifts, or Is It?

  • The perception about the subject matter would be quickly endorsed by most people, including women, that they tend to spend more on shopping and/or other related purchases than their male counterparts. There’s no denying the fact that women not only get excited to shop and purchase but also feel exhilarated when the task gets accomplished much to their satisfaction. It’s another matter altogether that women also spend a tremendous amount of time zeroing in on any product that they wish to purchase. Ask any accompanying husband or companion how long it would take for a woman to choose the real one. It’s fascinating to observe how women go about with such single-minded devotion to shopping escapades irrespective of time spent on the same.

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  • Mind you, the above phenomenon is not restricted to just one part of the universe but also noticed across the length and breadth. Of course, as Indian citizens, every household would have experienced how womenfolk prepare themselves for shopping when the wedding bells of a family member are nearby, for instance. The anticipation to undertake shopping for clothes, jewelry, and other related paraphernalia is a sight to behold. The preparation for the big day starts well in advance and the excitement reaches a crescendo as the time nears to step out for shopping. Wow! One must soak in the atmosphere to feel the genuine passion prevalent all around. Thus, it is always a given fact that women in general love to indulge in shopping more than men.
  • However, a recent survey undertaken by IIM-Ahmedabad on online shopping habits shows a contrasting result much to the surprise of all concerned. Consumer surveys often throw up results that puncture myths, for example, men shop mostly for functional stuff. The IIM-Ahmedabad survey simply busts this myth big time. Per the survey, fashion tops the list of stuff women – and men – buy online. And it is men who spend more, in per capita terms, on online shopping. Outspending women by 36%, men also manage to finish their buying in less time than women. The large gap in per capita spend between women and men should trigger questions. A separate survey carried out by DBS and Crisil on the financial independence of women is interesting too.


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  • The survey shows it’s practically non-existent for middle-class women. Does that mean IIM-Ahmedabad’s survey indicates that even technology, which helps people overcome so many other obstacles, can’t quite escape social constraints? Post-pandemic recovery has not been constant across the social strata of the country is obvious. The consumption patterns reported from different quarters suggest that the lower middle class is yet to come out of the challenges to resume spending on expected lines. No wonder, mass-market products continue to report lackluster sales. For growth to sustain, that’s the market that needs to grow again. And women must reclaim their penchant for going on a shopping spree yet again with renewed vigour.