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Research undertaken at the eBay Innovation Lab, a research project into consumer reactions to emerging technologies, has revealed a marked difference in perceptions vs. reality in the ways men and women interact with, and respond to, innovative technology.

From robots to virtual reality, and holograms to 3D printing, consumers were measured at the eBay Innovation Lab via gaze tracking, NFC rating systems and dwell time to determine the adoption rate and receptiveness to technology across Australia.

The results reveal both men and women are equally likely to want to be fully entertained and immersed in their technology, or be the first person to have the latest tech in their social circles. But the marked difference between the two groups is that women want to know the functionality of a product and proven usefulness on how it will affect their life, rather than the ‘does it look good’ marketing they might be used to. Women were twice as likely as men to want the function message, approaching technology with a more practical and problem-solving view.

The data also highlighted the confidence differences between men and women when they talk about their tech interests. Men are more prone to enthusiasm about technology that gives them greater access to media or reflects their social aspirations. Men were the most likely to call themselves tech fanatics – whereas women were the ones that actually behaved like the fanatics in the lab.

Futurist, Chris Riddell comments; “This provides a major opportunity and need to update the conversation with women – there needs to be an accessible tech discussion out there. The appetite is huge but the approach media and brands are taking does not live up to what women need or want. The Innovation Lab results showcased that what people say they want and what they actually love can sometimes be very different – confidence and knowledge play a huge part in this and it is becoming increasingly apparent as the tech gap continues to narrow. The best way to know what a customer will do is not to ask them, but to give them a chance to actually do it.”

Riddell continues, “Retail stores of the future will need to ensure they give consumers what they need to make their purchasing decisions, combining much richer data, ways to immerse and interact with products and personalising the shopping journey for each customer”.