Exploring Gender Targeting In eCommerce

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There’s no blanket rule on how best to market to your target gender. After all, stereotyping doesn’t always work and placing general assumptions on your target audience will likely do more harm than good to your company’s brand.

That said, there’s no denying that gender conditioning is real. The majority of us have grown up as a specific gender, and there is evidence to suggest that men and women shop differently.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to market to these different shopping behaviours but also look to the future of marketing around gender. We’ve included the most effective methods for sharpening your marketing to drill down into your store’s potential audience.

Men vs Women: Shopping Habits

You’re going to need to know the specifics of how different genders shop if you want to provide a service that satisfies their needs. For instance, men tend to prefer a more straightforward shopping experience. Think of Amazon’s 1-click as being the holy grail of male shopping preferences. Women, on the other hand, desire both a social and comprehensive shopping experience.

Spot the difference (between men and women’s shopping behaviours)!


What devices do men and women prefer to use when shopping online? Men like quick, simple shopping processes. So it makes sense that they do more mobile shopping than women.


How susceptible are men and women to discounted prices?

Women tend to be more responsive to marketing emails, sales and coupons, whereas men are less concerned with finding a good deal on a item. According to this study, 42% of men will frequently buy full priced items, as opposed to 31% of women.


How much research do men and women engage in before making a purchase?

Women spend much more time finding the hidden treasure. They respond to promotions and products that expel an aura of exclusivity. Customer reviews and testimonials are all critical in creating a product page that will drive conversions. 

Males do not often place the same value on finding the perfect product - serviceable is the keyword. They are likely to begin a shopping process with criteria for a product in mind. Their checklist doesn’t exactly make the process as easy as you might expect as these can often be very specific. Therefore, you need to quickly relay how your product ticks all the boxes for them.


You may think your target audience is male. However, although the end consumer may be male, women spend more on presents. It may very well be that you need to market to women but must appeal to what they think the man receiving the gift will want.

Type of product

The basics of this is a no-brainer. You’re not going to be selling sanitary towels to men. As for the products that aren’t gender-specific in their function, women are less perturbed by a marketing gender bias. Men, on the other hand, can be put off by effeminate marketing.


Women want to feel special. Men respond better to past purchase recommendations. This emphasises the disparity between the core components that different genders wish to get out of their shopping experiences.

Colour trends for men and women

We’re going to let you in on a top secret that a lot of marketing campaigns, sites and logos aren’t clued in on yet.

The key aspect to focus on is hues, not shades! Bright hues attract men and softer tones are preferred by women.

Colours hold immense personal significance. For instance, I choose to paint my bedroom fuschia at seven and wasn’t allowed to change the colour in my teens. It will always be a colour I despise and that, of course, has nothing to do with gender.

You’d suspect that the blue and pink would top the preference polls for men and women respectively. However, many studies have disproved this assumption and revealed blue to be the favoured shade amongst both genders. So, brands can easily work outside of gender stereotypes.

If you want to look further into the importance and psychology of colours in eCommerce, check out this article on our blog.

Another thing to be careful of are the colours disliked by men and women. Orange and brown are no-go areas full stop! Men are also disenchanted by purple, and women by grey.

Is gender-specific marketing on the way out?

Yes, but these shifts don’t happen overnight. Social norms are something that can change, but it can take years and a few online sites taking a stance isn’t going to reverse decades of society’s beliefs around gender.

50% of millennials believe gender to be on a spectrum and 56% of Gen Z-ers know of someone who identifies with gender-neutral pronouns. Clearly, the black and white tv commercial marketing techniques aren’t going to cut it anymore.

If you look at the increased marketing and sale of male beauty products, you can see that the tide is changing. Look at the ASOS beauty department, and you will see that it straddles across the women’s and men’s sections. There’s also the rise of people identifying as non-binary - it’s no longer a Barbie for girls and Action Men for boys kind of world.

All of these shifts will see a fostering of inclusivity and a global increase in the amount of companies who are getting with the times.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet. We are getting closer though, and the younger generations who are perhaps conditioned with a gender-neutral emphasis will likely respond to gender-neutral marketing.

What are the benefits of gender-neutral marketing?

If you’re one of the first off the bat with this fundamental marketing shift, your brand is going to be seen as a leader. The message you’re putting out is one that defies the status quo and is keeping up with the times. You’ll be likely to capture attention which will create noise around your gender-neutral marketing campaign.

Gender neutrality will make life a lot easier for marketers as they can cater to a broader audience and focus on different characteristics of their target demographic. You’re also widening your audience, not only to a whole other gender but also to those who are gender fluid.

It also allows for more creativity in marketing as we strip the labels from our audience. Marketing your products without gender specifications relieves the pressure for people to behave according to their gender.

Gender-neutral marketing also isn’t swayed by pseudo-factual mumbo-jumbo about the mystical effect of colours on our psyche. Our perception of colours is personal. In today’s world, we are much more than our genders.

Think more about the feeling you want to invoke and use colour to help enhance your message.

Which sites are selling unisex apparel or have a genderless appearance?

The rise of non-gender ranges across high street fashion labels proves we are moving away from a definite split between genders. These historical constructs are wearing thin and leaders in marketing are at the helm of reducing the gender obsession in the fashion industry.

Keep your ear to the ground and look out for the brands that are leading the hunt to end gendered marketing. Below are a few of our favourites here at Elkfox.


Everlane is a great example of a website that boasts a unisex appearance.

Lazy Oaf

Here is the future of clothing. Dressing to suit personality rather than your gender.


What’s this? A man wearing a dress! *Gasp!*

Marrakshi Life

Beautiful clothing no matter your gender!

Province of Canada

Crewnecks for all!


Defiant marketing: selling pink laces with a male model gives the brand a personality!

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Keeping up with emerging marketing trends can be overwhelming. Here at Elkfox, we give quick, no-nonsense information on how you can not only keep up to date with trends, but also implement them into campaigns. So, be sure to check into our blog every now and then so you can discover more ways to maximise your store’s performance. You can get in touch with us here.