Men Likely to Research a Purchase, Not Ask for Advice

FRIDAY Jan. 29, 2010 -- When lost on the roadway, men have a reputation for being less likely than women to ask for directions, and new research suggests that the same behavior may hold true when men go shopping.

In a new study of consumer behavior, researchers surveyed 543 male and female wine consumers who were purchasing wine for themselves or as a gift.

According to Nelson Barber, an associate professor of hospitality management at the University of New Hampshire, and colleagues, women were more apt to ask friends or family members for advice about making a purchase, while men were more likely to turn to impersonal sources for information, such as published materials.

But men don't always avoid asking for help. The study authors found that men will turn to others for assistance -- including retail clerks, friends and family -- if they have inadequate information. And when buying wine as a gift, men valued getting opinions from friends, family and retail clerks just as much as women did, the survey found.

In general, male survey participants viewed themselves as knowing more about wine than female survey participants did, the researchers noted. However, the study authors pointed out, women buy an estimated 80 percent of the wine bought in the United States.

"This research highlights the role of gender in decision-making research. The current study provides marketing professionals with new insights to developing better strategies. They need to be aware that in addition to objective product characteristics, customers' purchasing decisions may be driven by less obvious factors, such as those investigated in this study-- self-assessed knowledge, purchase confidence, and the purchase situation," Barber said in a university news release.

The findings are published in the January issue of the Journal of Consumer Marketing.

More information

To learn more about how the brain works, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Posted: January 2010


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