There was three of us in the room, and the room was silent. There is two kinds of silence. There is peaceful and relaxing silence, but this was the other kind. I have had meetings go wrong before but very few had reached the stage where I was assessing the damage that could be done by the objects within arms distance of the other people in the room. This was the first time since the GFC that I felt like I was going to become another ‘innocent bystander statistic’ during a client meeting!
This conversation started because as financial advisers we help people understand their spending habits and the topic of internet shopping soon came up when we went through the cash-flow items under the ‘miscellaneous’ heading. Things were fine until client 1, lets just call him ‘Mr Spendy McGee’ decided to make the insinuation that they would be in a better financial position if client 2, aka ‘Mrs Spendy McGee’, did make so many internet purchases…. and that’s when the trouble started.
When we completed our analysis of their spending patterns, despite Mr Spendy McGee’s claims and constant banter with his mates that Mrs Spendy McGee was wasting a large portion of their hard-earned on eBay, it turned out that he was just as guilty.
I have a few mates that make the odd remark about the online spending habits of their significant other, so I thought I should do some more comprehensive market research. Over the past 5 years, our internet shopping habits have changed significantly. In 2008, 57% of males were active in purchasing online, while only 47% of women were. Fast forward to 2013, men are still leading the charge with 74% and women close behind at 70% actively making internet purchases. eMarketeer predicts that the ‘Digital Buyer Penetration’ (I didn’t make that name up) will increase from 77% to 81% over the next 5 years, so it is only going to increase.
So we now know that more men shop online than women, but who is doing the most spending? The ABS reports that 50% of online shoppers have bought clothing and jewelry, 25% have bought cosmetics. 43% have bought electronics, 47% have bought music, 37% have booked travel and 28% have purchased toys and games. There is another section for ‘Other’ so I’m not sure what kind of purchases fit in that category and to be frank, I’m not going to ask.
I needed to give this data some relevance….. so I asked my mates, then I asked their wives. It seems that the overwhelming response is that while the ladies buy more frequently, it is the men who make more expensive purchases…
There is some irony to the fact that I have had two deliveries from the store in the sky whilst typing this literary masterpiece! The secret to marital bliss and an eBay addiction? Having the deliveries sent to your office!