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March 1, 2012, 5:16 am UTC
"If the consumer economy had a sex, it would be female. If the business world had a sex, it would be male. Therein lies the pickle."
Going by a recent report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), women control almost two-thirds of the global consumer spending. The degree of consumption spends by women are consistently increasing. But, are marketers reacting to this significant change? Marketers must keep that in mind while chalking out their strategies as the needs of women differ substantially from those of men.
According to the report, women have primary responsibility for both children and the elderly. They look at shopping as part of their care giving role in the family and household. This means that women are buying on behalf of everyone in their lives, and as a result they are constantly considering the needs of others when they shop -- even when they are shopping for themselves. They are constantly considering the implications of their purchases in terms of other people's wants and needs.
On the other hand men typically do not have the role of primary shopper for their households, and so they tend to view shopping in a more transactional manner.
The study says, “It is a revolution of, by, and for women — driven by a desire for more: For ongoing education, better ways to nurture themselves and their families, increased success as executives and entrepreneurs, higher earnings, and for better ways to manage and leverage their accumulated wealth”.
Of the total global consumption of $18 trillion, women control $12 trillion of the annual discretionary spends. The women economy is larger than total consumptions of India and China put together.
Abheek Singhi, Partner & Director, BCG says the average Indian housewife, who is middle-class but aspirational, wants the best for her children. She might shop at the local grocer, who gives her credit and the occasional discount, and buy mostly unbranded products, but she keeps part of the budget aside for the higher quality, expensive products as she is more quality-conscious today.
The report reveals that women are dissatisfied with 10 product categories like investment, cars, banking, life insurance, physicians, car insurance, work clothes, hospitals, personal computers and lodging. According to Singhi retailers often ignore the emotional appeal of a product towards women. Some other factors which the retailers ignore are cutting price to build sales, changing or introducing offerings within very short time periods, underestimating the importance of the colour pink, failing to differentiate from the 'me too' goods, communicating clumsily, overlooking the need for time-saving solutions, ignoring the importance of community, forgetting design aesthetics and underestimating the importance of love.
Hence,a retailer's female appeal lies in its ability to deliver a wildly personalized experience for both young girls and their mothers, grandmothers and other caregivers.
Meanwhile, there are some brands like Dove, Horlicks and Kellogg’s Special K that seem to truly understand women and are able to establish a connect with them. Hence, the entire idea is to target a mother, as when she stars consuming that specific brand, the entire portfolio can find a place in that household.
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