Do Most Women Really Shop Sales?

More than 75 percent of women claim to be sales shoppers, according to a Live Science shopping poll reported by Consumers Union’s ShopSmart magazine. Are there really more women bargain hunters than men? Yes, says research by Decitica Marketing Strategy & Research, which shows that men are more likely to be pragmatic or apathetic spenders while women are “involuntary penny-pinchers” or steadfast frugalistas. The ShopSmart study also indicated how fond women are of sites like Groupon, an assertion backed up by research from the Morpace Omnibus Report, which says 72 percent of women bargain hunters go for group-buying sites compared to 59 percent of men.

Part of the difference in buying habits may lie in the things women and men buy. Men not only tend to buy more tangible things, but also shop for specifics -- cars, electronics, tools, etc., says So if a bargain pops up, but it’s not related to what a man wants to purchase, it’s more likely he’ll pass it up.

There’s also the element of how sales shopping creeps into social life and conversation for each gender. Women bargain hunters are more likely to brag about how they bought something on sale, while men more often tout the object itself. When’s the last time you heard a man reply to a compliment on his new car or flat screen with, “Thanks, I got it on sale”?

Maura Haslam Do, a recently married Seattle resident, told Cheapism via email that she has upped her coupon clipping lately, but she finds that many major sales relate to food she doesn’t want.

"I've always been more modest with purchases and wait until store sales," says Do. "For the most part, though, I find that they don't apply to us much, as we tend to not use processed foods. One major confession is discovering the posted coupons in the lactose-free/dairy area. Whoops, I took more than what I was buying that day! What can I say, it was 75-cents-off, they were good for nine months and we use three a week!"

Currently living in a one-income household, Do doesn’t believe she’d be like 83 percent of the women bargain hunters in the ShopSmart survey, who said they'd still scour sales even if they had money to waste. Maybe she's one of the many shoppers who suffer from daily deals fatigue, which we discussed in a recent post.

“While I love finding a good bargain," admits Do, "I do find that kind of shopping exhausting/stressful and not fun at all. So if I was in a better financial situation, I'd probably get a bit lax in my bargain shopping!”

Brooke Kurilla, a recently married mom of one in New Jersey, told Cheapism via email that she is also among the women bargain hunters, although she says she doesn't often buy more than she needs and she never hoards.

“I clip coupons, I shop Amazon, ebay, Shoprite and Costco," Kurilla explains. "If it means I'm loading up on a cereals or snacks for my family because they're 1/3 of the price, I'm loading up."

Kurilla also shops sales on Black Friday and is on store email lists to get discounts for items she wants.

“Truth is, the bargain hunting is to spoil my family regularly," confides Kurilla. "It's nice to get your own reward out of it, too.”

Do and Kurilla also say they were frugal when it came to spending for their weddings, both of which took place in the last half of 2010. Do got her dress for a bargain, while Kurilla shopped at the slower time of year for vendors and purchased some items from value-priced products site Oriental Trading.

So, women and men out there, who is the bargain shopper in your household? Do you think this survey is believable or bunk?