Women are commonly considered the decision makers in the travel industry, however, a recent report from the Shullman Research Center (link opens PDF) shows that men spent more, more frequently, and for other people more often than women.

Based on reported purchases of 1,690 participants across the United States, an estimated 67 million adults bought one or more luxury item last year. The majority, 58 percent or 39 million, are men while 42 percent or 28 million, are women. The median number of luxury purchases was about the same – 2.9 for men and 2.8 for women – suggesting that men spend more than women per purchase.

The median cost of the most recent luxury item that men purchased, $1,150, was more than four times greater than women’s most recent luxury purchase of $250 suggesting men make higher priced purchases than women.

The majority of luxury purchases, 83 percent, are individual purchases for oneself. When it comes to purchase for others, men are slightly more likely than women to report that they’ve purchased something for a family member or as a gift.

It is also important to look at the motivations and considerations behind luxury purchases for each gender.

In the Shullman report specifically, researchers posed the prompt, “What you read, see or hear the word luxury, please describe briefly what you think about…”

Twenty themes emerged from the analysis of responses and there was a distinct difference in those that appeared only in the men or women’s responses.

Only men used the words, “best, rich, ease and exclusive” while only women used the words, “craftsmanship, fine, premium, style and unique.”

Recognizing the different incentives of each gender helps brands and destinations better market to each gender. An airline might focus on male customers when pushing the benefits of business class while a car rental company would be wise to women when pushing luxury vehicles based on their style and status.

Photo Credit: A sign is seen for high-end retail store Versace along 5th Avenue in New York May 19, 2013. Eric Thayer / Reuters