Made by women: Why women buy from women and men buy from women and men

Researchers from Technical University of Munich and Copenhagen Business School published a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Psychology that provides fresh insights into how individual purchase decisions are influenced by the gender of the person producing the goods. The research has implications for online platforms marketing handmade products and policymakers seeking to promote socially responsible behavior.

The article, recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, “Made by her vs. him: Gender influences in product preferences and the role of individual action efficacy in restoring social equalities” is authored by Benedikt Schnurr and Georgios Halkias.

Nearly 100 million consumers bought handmade products on Etsy in 2021, reflecting consumers’ preference for more personal and unique purchase experiences, according to the authors.  

The researchers found that female consumers show a strong preference for goods made by women, while male consumers are neutral about the producer’s gender. Through a series of 13 studies, they also discovered that female consumers more strongly believe that their purchase decisions can contribute to restoring gender equality in business compared to their male counterparts.  The authors call this tendency “action efficacy beliefs.”

Further, their studies suggest that the more female consumers believe that women face gender discrimination in business and the more they want to act against it, the greater their preference for products made by women. In fact, buying from a female producer matters more to women consumers than buying goods from a group of combined male and female producers whose revenues support a gender equality fund.

In addition, the team found female consumers’ higher action efficacy beliefs drive their choice of women-made products more than their beliefs that those products reflect their own identity – a common motivator of purchasing behavior.

The desire to reduce social inequalities isn’t enough to change behavior. “Consumers need to believe that their seemingly trivial individual actions can contribute to the cause,” the authors write. “In this sense, consumers need to believe that their action counts.”

The article offers potentially sales-boosting insights to women producers and online platform managers marketing handmade goods. Additionally, policymakers can leverage the findings to advance gender equity in business.

Full article and author contact information available at:  https://myscp.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jcpy.1327

About the Journal of Consumer Psychology

The Journal of Consumer Psychology publishes top-quality research articles that contribute both theoretically and empirically to our understanding of the psychology of consumer behavior. The Journal is intended for researchers in consumer psychology, social and cognitive psychology, judgment and decision making, and related disciplines. It is also relevant to professionals in advertising and public relations, marketing and branding, consumer and market research, and public policy. Published by the Society for Consumer Psychology since its founding in 1992, JCP has played a significant role in shaping the content and boundaries of the consumer psychology discipline. Dr. Lauren Block (Lippert Professor of Marketing at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College) serves as the current Editor-in-Chief.

About the Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP)

The Society for Consumer Psychology is the premier voice to further the advancement of the discipline of consumer psychology in a global society. Building upon the Society’s excellence in mentoring young behavioral scientists, the SCP facilitates the generation and dissemination of intellectual contributions and promotes professional development and research opportunities for its members around the globe. Dr. Gita V. Johar (Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School, Columbia University) serves as the current President.