Shopping strategies naturally differ between men and women

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researcher Daniel Kruger from the University of Michigan School of Public Health says women and men differ in their shopping strategies because of evolution. Looking back, men typically hunted (sans children), and women foraged for plants and herbs. He says it is only natural that women shop differently than men.

Men want to “get in and get out” says Kruger. Their shopping strategy is targeted. From an evolutionary standpoint, taking children on a hunt would never happen. From the same perspective, women naturally forage.

Women shop for multiple items, filling their baskets, just like they did gathering plant foods. Kruger explains that shopping strategies differ between men and women because of the difference in the way men and women have hunted and gathered throughout human evolution.


"We have evidence that the kind of skills, abilities and behaviors that are important for hunting and gathering in current foraging societies emerge predictably in our modern consumer environment," said Kruger, who conducted a study after a winter holiday trip with friends.

He found that when visiting Prague, women immediately wanted to go shopping in the villages, but his male friends couldn’t understand why. Women had to be adept at choosing plants and food to fill their baskets, making them perfectly suited today for shopping for the right texture, fabric, and sale.

"The value is in understanding each other—both your own shopping strategy and the strategy of the complimentary sex.”Though it doesn’t hold true for everyone, there are broad themes between the way women shop and the way men shop, according to Kruger.

For women, foraging is natural – shopping for sales are a hit, and visuals are important, just like gathering plants for food. For men, shopping is targeted - just like when they were on the hunt in days gone by. The reason women and men have different shopping strategies can be looked at from an evolutionary perspective.

University of Michigan News Service


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