August 26, 2008, 12:00 AM

Men are more at ease online and spend more freely than women, survey says

A clear gender gap emerges in a new survey of the spending plans of online shoppers. Men are more comfortable shopping online than women and plan to spend more in the next three months. Women are more concerned about the economy and about identity theft.

A clear gender gap emerges in a new survey of the spending plans of online consumers. Men are more comfortable shopping online than women and plan to spend more in the next three months. Women are more concerned about the economy and about identity theft, according to the survey conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research and sponsored by eBillme, provider of a service that lets consumers pay for online purchases through their Internet bill pay providers.

91% of the 1,608 online consumers surveyed this month plan to make a purchase online in the next three months. 14% plan to spend less than $50, 17% $50 to less than $100, 23% $100 to less than $250, 18% $250 to less than $500, 12% $500 to less than $1,000, 4% $1,000 to less than $2,000, and 3% more than $2,000. The question asked consumers to consider all online purchases, including airline tickets.

The big spenders are mostly men. 16% of men vs. 10% of women plan to spend between $500 and $1,000, and the breakdowns were 6%/3% and $5%/1% for the $1,000-$2,000 and over $2,000 categories.

68% of men vs. 57% of women (62% overall) say they are as comfortable buying online as in person, while 62% of women vs. 53% of men (57% of total) say they would buy more online if they felt better protected against identity theft. 77% of all respondents (73% of men and 81% of women) agree they would like online payment methods that offered more protection against fraud.

The gender gap also carried over to preferred payment methods and views of the economy. 79% of men vs. 67% of women (73% overall) say they plan to pay with a credit card online in the next 90 days, while 55% of women and 31% of men (43% overall) plan to pay with a debit card. 48% of respondents say they plan to delay online purchases because of the economy, including 54% of women and 43% of men. 32% would purchase more online if they could use cash, including 38% of women and 25% of men. The responses show women are more worried about the economy and about the security of online shopping, Javelin says. The eBillme Online Spending Index survey will be carried out each quarter going forward, eBillme says.

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