BEIJING: Taobao, China's largest online marketplace, has revealed that its most loyal male customers buy twice as many items as women with a similar level of engagement.

A new report from the ecommerce firm identified 12 types of customer, including a group called "hands-chopping people", or ardent online shoppers who sometimes regret spending too much and say they will chop off their hands if they buy items online again.

They are a small but important group, where men were found to buy double the number of items women did. They accounted for just over 1m of Taobao's 500m registered customers and spent RMB160,000 a year on average.

One such customer was quoted as saying: "I work to make money, and the money is to buy things on Taobao. Taobao is like a man for whom I have bitter-sweet feelings."

The largest group were characterised as "night fighters" after their propensity to shop between 11pm and 5am.

They number some 22.8m web users, equivalent to a city the size of Beijing. Some distinct regional variations were apparent in their preferences. The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in the south west, for example, was found to have a significant number of "night fighters", a fact the report attributed to the later sunset there.

The "hoarders" category, 1.3m strong, was worried that its favourite products might sell out and liked to buy in large quantities, enough to last for a year. Henan province contained the greatest number of "hoarders", who, on average, bought 98 of the same items at a time.

Another 1m-strong group were known as "collectors", who varied between mainstream pursuits searching for antiques, paintings or stamps online, and more esoteric pastimes, like collecting instant noodles with different flavours.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff