The Growing Role of Women in Making Purchasing Decisions
As the recession hopefully recedes and the holidays accede, social commentators could well take a closer look at the role women play in driving market demand in this difficult economy. Women in their traditional role as keeper of hearth and home have already tended to make more decisions than marketers gave them credit for. Today with the increased clout women have from their growing role in the work place, this influence has morphed into sheer purchasing power.
This influence by women has further grown, even in these recessionary times. Says Marti Barletta on her web-site Trendsight.com "As has been typical in recessions for the last 30 years, women's occupations tend to be less recession-sensitive than men's". This insight, coupled with rising incomes in the female ranks is further changing the way many corporations craft their marketing and media strategies.
Terri Petry publisher of two local newspapers in NJ is another advocate for women. Through her magazines for women (Mercer County Woman and Burlington County Woman), Terri is determined to increase awareness of the importance of women in making purchasing decisions. “The current amount of wealth that women directly control is an astounding $14 trillion,” she says. “According to a survey conducted by J.D. Power & Associates and the Washington Post, women directly purchase or influence the purchase of 83% of all products or services. This includes $3.7 trillion spent annually on consumer purchases and an additional $1.5 trillion on business purchases. That’s a lot of purchasing power.”
Even more surprising is the breakdown of categories on which women spend all this money.
According to Petry: “ women purchase or influence the purchase of…
- 94% of all home furnishings,
- more than 90% of all beauty and hygiene products and
- more than 90% of all jewelry and perfume,” .
The publisher of Mercer Country Woman adds “What may be more surprising, however, is that women purchase or influence the purchase of…
- 51% of all consumer electronics,
- more than 55% of all home repairs,
- 89% of all bank accounts and even
- approximately 81% of all riding lawn mowers!”
According to the same J.D. Power study, (says Petry) “women account for 88% of all retail customers in the United States. They carry 76 million credit cards, 8 million more than men”.
According to research conducted by Robert Baker, Biz4NJ's Technology Editor, online trends are no different. “Women reached the level of more than 50% of Internet usage as long ago as 2000 and now account for 66% of all home computer purchases. They spend far more time on e-mail than men.” “Women account for approximately 60% of all Internet use and are considered to be the primary decision makers for about 83% of all e-commerce," says Baker.
When it comes to business, women also plan most of the meetings – the majority of professional meeting planners, in fact, are women – they also spend $44.5 billion annually on office supplies. “Women also account for about 50% of all business travel as compared with only one percent as recently as 25 years ago”. “Of all the statistics included in the study, this is perhaps the most indicative of the changing role of women in business,” says Petry.
There are now web-sites devoted to telling men how to market to women. One of these is www.she-conomy.com. Holly Buchan's web-site: "Marketing to Women" is another source of male enlightenment. SheSpeaks.com recently published a 65 page report on marketing to women.
The old adage holds true even in business, “If Mama isn’t happy, nobody is happy!”