The Biggest Emerging Market In The History Of The Planet – Woman

Marissa Mayer Yahoo
According to the Harvard Business Review, women now represent the largest consumer market in the world.  Also, according to the Boston Consulting Group women are now poised to drive the post-recession world economy thanks to an estimated US $5 trillion in new female-earned income that will be coming online in the next five years. This means that women will be the ones driving the economy. That growth represents the biggest emerging market in the history of the planet, more than twice the size of the two hottest developing markets, India and China combined.
So my marketing friends, I think it is time we put the woman consumer front and center in our marketing strategies.
the Worlds Largest Opportunity - Woman
The power of woman in the global marketplace is undeniable and for savvy marketers who know how to communicate, relate and offer real value to the variety of woman markets they can be  in a position to really build a long term relationship with these woman through their brand messaging, causes they support and overall social outreach.
But the first step in understanding the Woman Marketplace  is to listen.  Many big brands have a hard time with this one. Big brands are far more comfortable speaking at a market then listening to a market.  Of course , it has always been important to listen to your market but I can not emphasize enough how important it is when addressing woman in the marketplace.  The next step is to relate and to come to the table with real value to the community of woman you are trying to engage with.
Sheryl Sandberg -Facebook
There is recent research I came across that was featured at the Center for Media Research and  conducted by  the Wave 5 from the Ipsos MediaCT Audience Measurement Group, Women, Power & Money, co-developed with FleishmanHillard and Hearst Magazines that provides some real insights into the power of the woman marketplace.  Here is an except from the research highlight and a link to the full research report at the end.
_________________________________________________________________
The American woman is feeling increasingly independent, knowledgeable and successful as she continues growing into her leadership roles in the home, marketplace and workplace. Despite great strides, she still lags in pay and comfort in salary negotiations; moreover, there are radically differing perceptions of financial responsibility between her and her spouse. In a sense, these financial issues lie at the intersection of women, power and money, and reflect the last great bastions of gender inequality, concludes the report.

In the marketplace, she dominates day-to-day spending, and shares responsibility for big ticket purchases. She brings a tremendous openness to new brands across categories, even when she is relatively satisfied with her existing choices. Her marketplace frustrations lie, not so much with the products or services she uses, but placing the onus on brands to create simple, consistent and compelling product offerings and communications.

Throughout the study generational differences are profound:

  • Boomer women perceive more differences between men and women and are more swayed by messages related to values and corporate social responsibility.
  • Gen X women are solidly in the lifestage of family formation, and the associated tradeoffs hamper her satisfaction with life more generally. She also brings a more financially constrained and price-conscious (if less satisfying) approach to the marketplace. The most distinctive profile belongs to
  • Gen Y women feel smart and successful, but also stressed and exhausted. She sees more equality between women and men; she feels the potential and the pressure of growing up in a world of supposed equal opportunity, but which in fact presents a truly uphill climb to achieve equal results. Gen Y is also a global generation of women, says the report, with perspectives and marketplace preferences that transcend borders and cultures, shaped by shared experiences of technology, social media, emerging brands and the cultural narrative that preached “girls can do anything boys can do.”

In the marketplace, she perceives herself controlling day-to-day spending, with three-fourths or more feeling responsible for household purchases, while she considers big-ticket purchases to be a joint responsibility. He perceives the division of labor differently, seeing day-to-day decisions as jointly made, and big-ticket decisions as largely his. Much of the disconnect lies in differing definitions of “responsibility.” Women likely make the vast majority of day-to-day purchase decisions, while men tend to express occasional preferences and offer cursory input – men consider this “shared” responsibility, while women feel the weight of these responsibilities.

The disparity in spousal perceptions of responsibility is particularly dramatic for financial decisions. Two-thirds of married/partnered women feel financial decisions are jointly made, with another 25% feeling primary ownership. Most married/partnered men, however, consider themselves primarily responsible, and only 3% consider their wives to be responsible. This same pattern of differing perceptions holds true among Gen Y women and men, and extends to perceptions of responsibility for large purchases.

Responsibility for Financial Decisions (among married/partnered)
  Husband Wife Equal
What women say

9%

25%

66%

What men say

54%

3%

43%

 Source: Ipsos MediaCT, July 2013

A male perspective on ‘joint’ decision-making, says the report,  “When there’s an important decision to be made, my wife and I sit down and calmly discuss it together, weighing the pros and cons, expressing our opinions, and generally being equal partners in the decision. Then I do whatever she tells me to do.”

The Bottom Line (according to the report): Finances stand at the intersection of women, power and money, and in many respects remain the last great bastion of gender inequality. Still, messages that reference differing perceptions, but eventual agreement, on household decisions will likely resonate with both genders.

Since The Great Recession, value and price have been dominant marketplace themes, across categories and genders. Still, women generally lead in both price- and value-orientation, particularly in home-related categories. Only in financial services are men significantly more price focused. Despite constrained spending, satisfaction with products and services is relatively widespread.

  • Across the 12 categories measured, 81% of women and 74% of men are extremely or very satisfied with the products and services they use
  • Across categories, Gen Xers tend to be the most price sensitive and least satisfied with the products and services they use.
  • Satisfaction correlates only modestly with brand loyalty; even brands that satisfy their customers cannot assume loyalty or repeat business
  • In addition to a stronger value-orientation, women are more inclined to spend on experiences, while men are more likely to spend on products. Men also prefer brands they “grew up with” and luxury brands, despite feeling more financially constrained.
Purchase Considerations (% of Respondents Agreeing)
Consideration Women Men
I would prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things

74%

65%

Financially, I am worse off now than I was before the recession started

47%

54%

I usually buy the brands I grew up with

45%

60%

In many categories, I prefer to buy luxury brands

28%

38%

I take pride in making smart purchase decisions

98%

92%

I am a smarter shopper than ever before

92%

86%

Good value for the money is more important than price

91%

91%

I usually wait for something to go on sale before I buy

84%

74%

Extremely/Very Important To Get The Lowest Prices
Product(s) Women Men
Automobiles

68%

66%

Household supplies

65%

51%

Food/groceries

63%

58%

Household appliances

60%

48%

Personal care items/toiletries

60%

52%

Vacations

56%

55%

Fashion apparel and accessories

55%

49%

Technology

54%

51%

Watches or jewelry

52%

53%

Household furnishings and decor

51%

44%

Financial services/investments

51%

62%

Beauty/personal grooming items

48%

45%

Source: Ipsos MediaCT, July 2013

The Bottom Line (according to the report): Messages of value and low price will resonate across genders and generations. Still, there are subtleties by gender. Women are particularly value-oriented, with a preference for experiences and an openess to brands; men are less price focused, with a preference for products, familiar “comfort” brands, and an openness to re-engage the luxury marketplace.

Brands remain crucially important in today’s marketplace. Only 32% of women agree, “All brands are pretty much the same,” a figure that drops to 26% among Boomer women (but rises to 37% among men, and 49% among Gen Y men). When asked about factors (besides price) shaping product choice, issues of brand rose to the top, across genders and generations. Reliability and trust are particularly important, along with customer service. Women, particularly Boomer women, are more likely to make marketplace choices based on “values” or “corporate social responsibility” considerations. Gen Y women skew higher only in their interest in rewards and loyalty programs (they may consider “green” and other principle-based factors a given). Men are more likely to be swayed by brands known for innovation.

Extremely/Very Important When Choosing Brands (Aside From Price)
Factors Women Men 
Is a reliable brand

87%

86%

Is a trusted brand

82%

78%

Has excellent customer service

81%

70%

Treats employees fairly

69%

56%

Is made in America

63%

57%

Is an American brand

61%

58%

Rewards/customer loyalty programs

61%

54%

Is environmentally friendly

54%

43%

Gives back to or supports the local community

47%

43%

Is known for innovation

45%

52%

Is affiliated with a charity or cause

29%

27%

Source: Ipsos MediaCT, July 2013

The Bottom Line (according to the report): In today’s marketplace, reliable and “solid” brands have tremendous appeal, across genders and generations, suggesting the appeal of “selling the steak, not the sizzle.” Additional (secondary) layers of messaging can provide more targeted appeals, such as values-focused approaches for Boomer women and innovation-related messages for men.

While brand considerations are crucial in the buying process, and solid brands are highly valued, there is nevertheless considerable openness to brands. Across each of the 12 categories, most women describe themselves as “open to a variety of brands,” and a minority describe themselves “loyal to certain brands.” On average, only 29% of women in a category express loyalty (significantly below men’s 37%). Although brand openness is the general rule across segments, generational and life-stage patterns are apparent as well.

  • Boomer women are most loyal to beauty brands (53%)
  • Xer women are most loyal to personal care brands (51%)
  • Gen Y women are most loyal to automotive (49%) and technology (45%) brands

The bottom line: There are obviously opportunities for new brands, provided they are “solid” and their messaging can cut through and differentiate amid option/message overwhelm. While the door is not closed to existing brands, they clearly cannot “rest on their laurels” – they must continue to communicate and deliver solid benefits.

As with any segment profile, including generational ones, it should be remembered that the skews presented reflect generalizations and tendencies that do not apply to every member of the segment. Perhaps most remarkable are the commonalities among these Hispanic and African-American women, which are apparent despite their diverse definitions and varying preconceptions many have about each

Hispanic women are strongly distinguished by regional skews, with 53% living in the West (essentially double that of women in general), and to a lesser extent her relative youth (median age 38 vs. 44). She is, on average, slightly happier than her peers, and at home she has particularly strong ties with her family, children and spouse (and is more concerned about issues of family safety). In the marketplace, she is particularly value-oriented, interested in reward programs and eco-friendly brands. She is very comfortable with technology and exhibits a strong luxury interest, particularly in categories of technology and apparel. She is extremely open to new brands, chiefly automotive brands.

African-American women skew younger (median age 42) and are more likely to live in the South (63%, vs. 36% in total). She is, on average, less satisfied with her spouse and home life, but more satisfied with her friends and physical/emotional health. She considers herself smart and is most likely to perceive women as leaders in the home, in education and making smart purchase decisions. She skews lower income relative to the national population of women, but is far more likely to agree, “I am better off financially than most of my friends and family.” And despite skewing price-focused, she is predominantly loyal to brands and has a wide range of luxury interests. She also has an interest in brands with a reputation for innovation or with community- and cause-related connections.

Affluent Women defined as those with household incomes of at least $100,000. Nationally, affluent Americans account for 20 to 25% of the population, but hold nearly 70% of privately held net worth, making them tremendously important to marketers. Demographically, affluent women skew married (80%), college educated (80%), suburban (75%) and employed (72%). She skews slightly more Boomer, but doesn’t particularly show the attitudinal skews characteristic of Boomers or Gen Y women.

Despite higher income, affluent women are as just as value-oriented, and only slightly less price-sensitive than women in general. Still, she expresses a preference for higher end brands in technology and in the grocery store. She is relatively loyal to tech brands, but this tendency toward brand loyalty does not extend to other categories. In making decisions, she values expert opinions and innovation.

The Bottom Line (according to the report): The emergence of a globally-coherent Gen Y generation and corresponding marketplace creates profound opportunities. However, brands and messages must appeal to the unique interests and preferences of a generation that has grown up with a truly unprecedented confluence of new media and new influences.

This white paper focuses primarily on U.S. women, and unless otherwise noted, data is from U.S. women. Note also that generations are defined as: Gen Y, age 21-34; Gen X, 35-49; Boomers, 50-69

To access the complete report in PDF format, with charts and graphs, please visit Ipsos here.

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