The authors investigate gender shopping styles across countries and explore whether differences between male and female shopping styles are greater than differences in shopping styles between consumers across countries. The study develops a conceptual model to test Eagly and Wood's (1999) convergence hypothesis. Applied to shopping, this predicts that men and women should become more similar in shopping styles as traditional gender-based divisions in wage labor and domestic labor disappear. The results of a survey on shopping behavior across 11 countries indicate that men and women are evolutionarily predisposed to different shopping styles. Counter to the convergence hypothesis, differences in shopping styles between women and men are greater in higher-gender-equality countries than in lower-gender-equality countries.
Empathizing—the ability to tune into someone's thoughts and feelings—mediates shopping style more for women, while systemizing—the degree to which an individual possesses spatial skills—mediates shopping style more for men. Results suggest that gender-based retail segmentation is more strategically relevant than country-based segmentation. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for international marketing theory and practice.