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Gender differences and wellbeing values in adolescent online shopping

Blandina Sramova (Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Jiri Pavelka (Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Zlín, Czech Republic)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 7 January 2019

Issue publication date: 31 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to determine the gender differentiation of adolescents in their online shopping motivation based on utilitarian and hedonic values as an expression of well-being. It is necessary to find out whether and to what extent utilitarian and hedonic values act as motivations in online shopping. The aim was to find whether boys and girls differ in their average individual values representing motivators in a specific, individual online shopping behavior, while assuming that a higher frequency of occurrence of the value areas represents a higher level of well-being.


The research focused on finding if individual motivational areas of online shopping, in which utilitarian and hedonic values are applied, are differently represented by Slovak boys and girls. The research sample comprised of the Slovak adolescents (n=420, AM age=16.75). A modified questionnaire investigated the motivation for online shopping.


Research findings pointed to a higher degree of well-being in adolescents’ online shopping motivational structures based on utilitarian and hedonic motivations. The research study indicated different motivational structure based on utilitarian and hedonic values which are associated with online shopping behavior of the adolescents in relation to their gender. The outcomes showed that there was a larger representation of the utilitarian values related to online shopping by adolescent boys. The adolescent boys more often appreciated choice, availability of information, lack of sociality and cost savings. Adolescent boys and girls had equal hedonistic value motivations.

Practical implications

At the time of the digital marketing boom, the knowledge of adolescents’ behavior in the online shopping environment is important for marketing communication. Adolescents will represent a strong segment of buyers in the digital market in the near future. Thus, aiming for the improvement in well-being by respecting the gender differentiation, retailers could create a more effective marketing communication design that would be targeted at the current Generation Z. The findings are important for the preparation and creation of the design of the online-activities marketing in individual cultural regions.


There is a notable absence in the monitoring of the well-being values in adolescent online shopping in Europe, especially in the post-communist EU countries. The Slovak Republic is one of the dynamically developing post-communist countries of the EU. Its position in the OECD which measures subjective well-being is very low. The research can become a starting point for forming the theory of online shopping behavior, assuming gender unification in the areas of hedonic values and motivations not only for the Generation Z but for all online shopping consumers in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The presented research is thus practical in order to adequately set up the online communication and the research use of a diagnostic tool in the European space. The authors see the research as a pilot study, which gives the opportunity for subsequent intercultural comparison. Knowledge of gender differences and indicators of well-being tendencies in the motivational structure of adolescents may be applicable for supporting and regulating the online shopping behavior of adolescents, as well as for the explanation and theoretical modeling of this behavior.



Sramova, B. and Pavelka, J. (2019), "Gender differences and wellbeing values in adolescent online shopping", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 47 No. 6, pp. 623-642.



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