An evolutionary explanation for shopping behavior

Gerard P PRENDERGAST*, Choi Ching Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe the shopping experiences of males and females. The central research question is: what does shopping mean for males and females? The sub-question related to this central research question is: what are the differences in male and female experiences of shopping? Design/methodology/approach: Using a phenomenological method, a study was conducted of the shopping experiences of males and females. This involved in-depth interviews, an analysis of significant statements, and generation of core themes. Findings: The analysis revealed six core themes that highlight the differences in how males and females experience shopping. Categorizing these six themes into textural and structural descriptions of the phenomenon culminates in an essence that depicts shopping as being a pleasurable experience for females but not so pleasurable for males. Through an inductive process, the authors argue that these findings are most suitably explained within an evolutionary psychology framework. Research limitations/implications: First, the sample consists solely of Hong Kong shoppers. Second, although every effort was made to validate the findings, with an interpretivist study of this nature, the interpretations can be challenged. Practical implications: Based on the evolutionary instincts of consumers, retailing tactics can be developed to cater for the needs of males, females, and couples. Originality/value: While many quantitative studies have been conducted of the shopping behavior of males and females, none have deeply probed the shopping experiences using a qualitative line of inquiry. By seeking to discover the essence of the experience of male and female shoppers, this phenomenological research fills the gap in the existing literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-370
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Gender
  • Individual behaviour
  • Retailing
  • Shopping


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