Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gender and Spending Habits

When you think of the typical shopper, you are likely to imagine a young woman with a shopping bag in a mall. This is a stereotype that has been associated with women (and youth) for quite a while. Moreover, this association has led to the belief that young adult women spend more money than their masculine counterparts. Is this true? Who actually spends more?


Who spends more at Kalamazoo College, men or women? What kind of products do the sexes purchase? What factors influence these tendencies? 

In this study, I surveyed 28 students at Kalamazoo College. The survey was split into two main sections: 1. General Income and Quarterly Expenditures; 2. Situational Questions. The first section gathered data on hard numbers - how much income each person had/generated, as well as how much they spent on various products per quarter. These products included food/beverages, entertainment, travel, clothing, and monthly payments. The situational questions asked each person several hypothetical questions, like how likely they would be to spend on better hotels, cheaper clothing, better looking cars, and romantic interests.

It turns out that the question, "Who Spends More?" may be too broad. In the end, there was no statistically significant difference between the spending of men and women at KCollege. However, there were still patterns that emerged. Men generally spent more than women, but most generated more income than women. Still, men on average spent a larger percentage of their income. Statistically, more men were employed (part-time) than women. Men spent significantly more on entertainment and food/beverages, and women spent significantly more on clothing. 

The situational questions also pointed out some very interesting tendencies. Women were more likely to: spend on clothes that they did not initially intend to buy; buy a good-looking, used car with many miles; be charitable to the homeless; spend more on a hotel to for its superior location. Women varied less in their responses than men, which is why I could draw some of these patterns. Men, on the other hand, had very different responses to many of the questions; some were extremely likely to give into peer pressure and others were unaffected. One tendency that most men agreed on, though, was spending more money on a romantic interest, while women were more likely to have different opinions on the matter. Interesting stuff.

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