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Release Date: 07/14/2008

ShopSmart Poll: 38 Percent of Couples Spend More When Together

Male Versus Female Shopping Styles and What Happens When Couples Shop Together

ShopSmart - Sept '08 Cover YONKERS, NY – According to a new poll featured in the September 2008 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, 38 percent of couples spend more money when shopping together and the majority make joint purchasing decisions. When couples do not make decisions together, however, women are the ones in charge more often than the men.

The poll also found that more than 74 percent of men and women say they shop together so they can spend time together. Yet these shopping excursions are not always pleasant as more than one in four couples (26%) has had an argument in public while shopping together.

Conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, the men versus women shopping poll is part of ShopSmart's feature on sex and spending, which includes a guide to male shopping personalities, dos & don’ts for shopping together and a relationship-and-money Q&A.

“Shopping alone might be less of a headache but, if you want to bring along your partner, a little strategizing can make all the difference,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “Our guide will help you decipher your guy’s shopping personality for a more productive and pleasurable shopping experience.”

Shopping Together

  • The majority of couples (84%) shop together at least sometimes and most enjoy doing so as 85 percent always or often stay together while shopping at a particular store.
  • Nearly 80 percent of men and women do at least some of their shopping without their significant other.
  • 43 percent of women like to shop with men to have someone help carry bags. Women dislike it because they feel rushed or pressured (53%) and their spouse has no patience or gets bored (51%).
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of men who shop with their spouse or significant other believe that it takes more time to shop together than on their own. Only 36 percent of women agree.
  • 26 percent of men say they shop with their significant other because they are made to do so. Men’s top complaints are that they shop for stuff they don’t need (50%), it takes too long (49%), and women can’t make a decision (44%).

The Shopping Roles of Men & Women

  • Women feel that they are more likely than their significant other to ask for help (76% vs. 37% of men), use a coupon (75% vs. 32% of men) and make a return (72% vs. 34% of men).
  • Men feel that they are more likely to leave without buying anything (65% vs. 39% of women), haggle for a better price (51% vs. 45% of women) and research purchases (52% vs. 45% of women).

Isn’t It Romantic? But…

  • 75 percent of men and women say they’ve held hands while shopping, and 46 percent have had other displays of affection.
  • Arguments are typically equally won by men and women but 22 percent of men who shop with their significant other believe she wins more arguments about what to buy or how much to spend.
  • 25 percent of men and women say they’ve been embarrassed by their partner in a store.
  • 32 percent of couples have lost their significant other while shopping with 12 percent who have resorted to paging them over a loudspeaker. 6 percent of men and women admit to abandoning their significant other at a store.

What’s His Type?

ShopSmart shares their guide to figuring out his shopping personality and what to do to keep the peace when spending time and money together.

  • Mr. Grab-and-Go shops like he’s running into a blazing fire. What to do? Let him know what he’s in for before you leave for the store.
  • The Waiter and Whiner lets you know at every chance he gets that this shopping trip wasn’t his idea. What to do? Send him to the food court when he gets antsy.
  • The Gearhead gasps with pleasure at the faintly rubbery smell of new electronics. What to do? Amuse yourself by checking out the CD selection, or wait for him in a coffee shop or clothing store.
  • Mr. Money-Is-No-Object is unlikely to look at the price before buying and is highly susceptible to sales pitches for upgrades. What to do? Agree to consult with each other for any purchase over a set amount.
  • The Lone Wolf (the same man who will drive 25 miles out of the way before admitting he’s lost) is loath to ask for help in a store. What to do? Track down a salesperson or use an online product locator like

ShopSmart Coupon Poll Methodology
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,003 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviewing took place over April 17-20, 2008. The margin of error is +/- 3.2% points at a 95% confidence level.

About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and over a half a million copies of each issue are available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Target, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.

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