Christmas card design 'gender bias'
Men and women prefer Christmas cards designed by people of their own sex, according to an academic study.
Researchers believe their study could have wider significance because more than 80% of women are responsible for consumer purchases.
They claim it should act as a "giant wake-up call" for advertising experts and designers as their industries are dominated by men producing work modelled on what men prefer.
A questionnaire was sent out to 481 men and women in the UK, Germany, France, Hungary and China, prepared by Dr Gloria Moss of Buckinghamshire New University and Dr Gabor Horvath of the University of Glamorgan.
The volunteers were asked to pick their favourite design from a selection produced by male and female designers.
The results showed a massive tendency for men and women to prefer cards produced by someone of their own gender, even though there was nothing about the design which could give respondents an idea of who designed it.
Dr Moss said: "So we know that women prefer designs produced by other women and many experiments I have carried out into preferences for graphic, product and web design over many years have highlighted this.
"Yet the design and advertising industry persists in being something of a male enclave and producing work modelled on men's preferences.
"The loser is business, since research suggests people are prepared to pay a premium of up to 50% for products that they like the look of.
"Of course, who knows how many more sales there would be if products and packaging had a look that women liked? And these, don't forget, are the ones doing most of the buying this Christmas time."