Are Men or Women More Brand-Loyal?

December 2, 2014

IpsosFleishmanHearst-US-Brand-Loyalty-by-Category-Gender-Dec2014Who’s more brand loyal – men or women? Probably the only real correct answer is that it depends (sorry). And that appears to be the case according to recent study [pdf] results from Ipsos MediaCT, Hearst Magazines and FleishmanHillard, although men are more likely to describe themselves as loyal to certain brands than women in several categories.

The survey, fielded among more than 4,300 men and women ages 21-69 in the US, UK, China, and Brazil, asked respondents if they would describe themselves as loyal to certain brands or as being open to a variety of brands. Of the 10 categories measured, the results show that American men were more likely to describe themselves as loyal to certain brands in the following:

  • Apparel (30% vs. 16% for women);
  • Automobiles (48% vs. 40%);
  • Financial services and investments (43% vs. 34%);
  • Home electronics (34% vs. 27%);
  • Hotel and resort stays (32% vs. 21%);
  • Household appliances (25% vs. 18%); and
  • Smartphones and tablets (47% vs. 43%).

Women, meanwhile, were more likely to describe themselves as loyal to certain brands in the following categories:

  • Beauty/personal grooming items (42% vs. 38% for men);
  • Households supplies (non-food; 36% vs. 26%); and
  • Personal care items/toiletries (48% vs. 47%), though the difference in this category isn’t meaningful.

While that suggests that men overall are (self-reportedly!) more likely to be brand loyal, the category-dependent nature suggests that a different sample of categories might have returned a different result.

Interestingly, when comparing the results of UK men and women, the same breakdown of categories applied. In China, however, women were more likely to describe themselves as brand-loyal in 8 of the 10 categories, with apparel (22% vs. 20%) and household supplies (34% vs. 31%) the only areas to show an edge, albeit small, for men. And in Brazil, men took the upper hand in brand loyalty in only a couple of categories, apparel (19% vs. 9%) and hotel and resort stays (13% vs. 4%), although the results were virtually even for automobiles, beauty/personal grooming items, and financial services, separated by a maximum of a couple of percentage points.

So, it seems that the gender comparison not only depends on the category, but the region also. It’s also worth noting that in each country, for each gender, and for each category, a majority described themselves as being open to alternative brands rather than being loyal to specific brands. The study’s authors note that “In some categories, openness to alternative brands is shaped by the fact that many feel there are no trusted brands already in the category.” So there’s that…

About the Data: US respondents were required to have at least $25,000 in annual household income, and similar income thresholds were established in each country.

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