How men and women buy clothes: what the data shows

Angus Kidman 18 November 2016


Fashion is less about impulse buying than you might think.

So we've just been through Click Frenzy while the double-shot of Black Friday and Cyber Monday looms next week. Online shoppers are drowning in bargains, but how do the shopping habits of men and women differ?

Rather than succumbing to lazy stereotypes, let's look at the data. Forrester Research recently published some insights into online shopping habits, focusing on fashion. While the survey data is from US consumers, there's no reason to assume the figures would be radically different for Australia, other than that we have comparatively rubbish delivery options.

One key question the study examined was how far in advance people plan their purchases. Here's what Forrester discovered:

Female shoppers are more likely to make impulse purchases than men, but they're still not especially likely to. Just 24% have done so. An additional 20% start planning a purchase and complete it within a day. Online shopping makes that approach much easier, since you don't have to physically return to a store to make a purchase.

Overall, Forrester found 36% of men and 43% of women don't do any research before buying. Put more simply: you're more likely to be planning your next clothing purchase than indulging in an impulse buy.

There are different degrees of planning, of course. Our senior writer/resident shopping fiend Mia has a hyper-organised list of everything she's thinking about buying, ready to swoop when the right sale strikes. I'm not that organised when it comes to clothes, but discount airline tickets? I'm completely addicted and totally on top of it. And by planning more, I can indulge my habit more often.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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