Men have a grand time shopping online

Latest research has identified an e-commerce gender divide, with men much more likely to be making big purchases online

Five percent of men have spent in excess of £5,000 on a single online-shopping session, according to research that claims to expose the "extravagant shopping habits" of Britain's males on the Internet.

The survey, conducted by Direct Line, suggests that e-tailers who sell expensive goods would be well advised to make sure they are targeting men. It also flags up that the e-commerce sector needs to do more work persuading potential shoppers that the Web is a trustworthy shopping channel.

The research found that men are seven times more likely than women to spend as much as £1,000 shopping on the Internet, and are also particularly keen on buying motor and holiday insurance online.

According to Direct Line, women are generally less keen on spending large sums of money shopping via the Web, but are extremely satisfied with the results -- with 85 percent saying they've never been disappointed with an online purchase.

"These figures reveal many issues when it comes to purchasing online, not least that men's trust in using the Internet as a shopping channel is currently far greater than women's," said Richard Coombe, head of e-commerce at Direct Line, in a statement.

"This is reflected not only in the high sums of money they are willing to part with, but also by figures stating that women need greater reassurance of the brand they are buying from and that men are 40 percent happier to trust online-only brands with great reputations than their female counterparts," Coombe added.

Many of those people who are splashing £5,000 or more on single online purchases are likely to be snapping up holidays and cars, as automobiles are proving particularly popular on auction sites such as eBay.