Women’s Economic Outlook Takes Gloomier Turn than Men’s

September 8, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

The gap is widening between men and women in terms of economic pessimism as women are becoming more gloomy and cautious about their economic situation and men are becoming more optimistic as the year progresses, according to according to the fourth month of data (July, 2009) from Performics’ “2009 Online Buyer Economic Trend Study.”

Findings are based on a detailed analysis of gender and geographic-region data collected among online shoppers from April through July 2009 . In April,? Performics found that online spending appeared to be more recession-proof than other types, and that men and women were relatively in sync when it came to economic outlook, perceptions of their household financial situations and their overall/online spending plans.

Back then, exactly 53%? of men and women said their current economic situation was worse than at the same time last year.

By July, however, women were responding with continuing caution and pessimism, with 54%? stating their economic situation was worse than at the same time last year. In contrast, men show signs of increased optimism, with a reduced 38% responding the same way.

Other gender differences as they relate to economic attitude:

  • 55% of women vs. 37% of men expect to spend less overall in the next 60 days.


  • 46% of women vs. 34% of men expect to spend less online in the next 60 days.
  • 41% of women vs. 30% of men expect to spend less on household essentials in the next 60 days. This is up from 34% for women in April and down from 33%
  • 73% of women vs. 57% of men think the recession has fundamentally changed the way they think about saving and spending money.

The study also revealed shifts in the mindset among consumers in various geographical areas around the US. Regionally, the Southwest, including states such as Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, has sustained the most positive outlook. In July, those respondents said their current economic situation was better (32%), anticipated improvements this year (32%) and planned to spend more in the next 60 days (23%).

The West, however, including California, Oregon and Washington, has grown more pessimistic since April. By July, 63% of Western respondents say their situation is worse than at the same time last year, compared with only 46% in April. Additionally, 53% expect to spend less online in the next 60 days. Only 36% expected to spend less online in April.

Across all consumers surveyed, the percentage of respondents who say their household economic situation is either the same or better than it was at this time last year dipped a few points, to 53% in July, after peaking at 57%? in June.

Additional survey findings:

  • Online and offline consumers continue to watch their spending, with the highest cutbacks on non-essentials such as dining out, fashion accessories and apparel.
  • Cutting back spending on these non-essentials reached a four month high in July (38%) and remains the top reason why consumers plan to spend less.
  • Lack of confidence in the economy, at 9%, remained at a four-month low, down from 17% in April.

“Despite some improving economic and market signals on Wall Street, women on Main Street continue to act cautiously,” said Michael Kahn, SVP of marketing at performics. “Given that women are still the primary purchasers in many households, their views and plans on spending will have a material impact on how quickly and to what degree we rebound from this recession.”

About the study: The research is an attempt to track the ongoing impact of the recession on online purchases, as well as shifts in the use of the channel. Performics commissioned ROI Research to conduct the survey and monthly surveys through December 2009. The July survey was conducted over a two-day period among 300 consumers who have made an online purchase in the past six months.


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