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Female-Oriented Sites More Optimized for Mobile?

We recently published our latest Mobile Scorecard Report on the top 100 web-only retailers [1], and in the process of our analysis we fell upon some interesting findings about gender and its relationship to mobile optimization. Using Internet Retailer’s gender data on the top 500 e-commerce sites [2], we determined which companies had more male or female customers. Next, we aligned that gender data with our own scorecard rankings and discovered some interesting results.

Gender mobile findings [3]

In general, a significant majority of the best mobile-optimized sites also had more female customers. Most of the highest scoring sites had more female customers, while most of the lowest scoring sites had more male customers. Almost all of the highest scoring sites use configurations like Responsive Web Design and dedicated mobile sites, so it makes sense that the majority of sites using these more mobile-optimized configurations also skewed towards companies with more female customers.

Why is it that sites that are more mobile-ready tend to have a greater female customer base? Kirby Burke, Associate Manager of Earned Media, thinks this gendered trend makes a lot of sense:

“The three verticals with the best user experience all focus on products which are aesthetically pleasing: jewelry, health/beauty and apparel/accessories. Presentation is a significant part of selling these products. An optimized mobile site with great user experience is the online equivalent to a high-end, brick-and-mortar, retail location. It makes customers feel comfortable and encourages them to browse the inventory. Having a well-designed site also builds trust. I personally wouldn’t purchase anything from a mobile site which is poorly built, especially an expensive gift such as a piece of jewelry.”

Perhaps this suggests that companies that cater towards women are selling products for which the aesthetic appeal is a significant selling point. Displaying these products in visually compelling ways across all devices would be a major priority. As a result, these businesses might be ahead of other web-only companies in the mobile-optimization race because they found more reason earlier on to cater to the customers (in this case, females) who would respond to mobile friendly sites.

What do you think? Does gender play a significant role in why some companies are excelling with their mobile experience and others are lagging behind?