In News, Research
researchbrief
September 9, 2015

According to a report from Fona International, prepared by Kit Barmann, women represent the largest market opportunity in the world, according to Forbes magazine. Globally, they control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending. In the next five years, it is expected that this number will rise to nearly $30 trillion.

 In the United States, women have enormous control, and it’s increasing. Reports range from $5-15 trillion, with Marketing Zeus citing sources that $7 trillion is contributed by women in the U.S. in consumer and business spending. Fleishman Hillard Inc. estimates that women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next 10 years.

Boomers led the way, attending college in large numbers, punching through the glass ceiling and demanding higher pay. So while Millennials are a focus for many marketers, when marketing to women don’t ignore the women who laid the groundwork. Marketing to women takes strategic planning that has longevity, adds a study by Forbes from Patricia Odell.

 And, from Fona, women handle the bulk of purchasing decisions for everyday items like groceries and clothing, even for those items targeted at men. 50% of products marketed to men are actually purchased by women. In addition to being responsible for most of the day-to-day purchases, women are also heading up or influential in large ticket purchases like cars, homes and appliances.

 Women’s rise in spending power is thanks to Baby Boomer women who blazed new paths and opened doors to more control and power in their lives. These defining generational facts are important to remember when marketing to this demographic.

 Boomer women were the first generation to attend college in large numbers.

  • Education has brought greater influence, skills, self-confidence and expectations, all of which bring women great spending power, says the report.
  • Between 1970-2004, the percent of women 25-54 with college degrees tripled.
  • Women in the U.S. earned 36.8% of MBAs in 2010-2011.
  • The percent of women in the workplace sky rocketed from only 6% in 1950 to nearly 30% in 2004.
  • Women own 40% of all private businesses in America.
  • 1.3 million women earn salaries over $100,000
  • 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women

Boomer women were able to broaden their horizons beyond the secretary, teacher and nurse careers available to their mothers. Today, these Boomer women of the workforce have made dual-income households the norm, says the report. More than 70% of Boomer couples are dual earners. Thanks to Boomer women, these two-paycheck families bring home a lot more money. Married couples account for 82% of households with income of $100,000 or more. And:

  • 85% of all consumer purchases in the U.S. are made by women.
  • 93% of food purchases are made by women.
  • 75% of women identify themselves as the primary household shopper.
  • 50% of products typically marketed to men are purchased by women.
  • 80% of healthcare decisions are made by women.
  • 68% of new car purchase decisions are made by women.
  • 66% of PCs 92% of vacations
  • 92% of vacations

According to the Harvard Business Review, women are obtaining higher education degrees at rates higher than men. It also reports that the 1 billion women in the workforce will grow to 1.2 billion in the next five years.

 Anna Shaw from Smart Design, a design and innovation company with a lab that focuses on female consumers, told Inc. magazine that companies flounder when they interpret women as smaller, softer humans. Companies need to understand her emotions, and are her values.

  • 91% of women say advertisers don’t understand them.
  • 66% if women feel misunderstood by healthcare marketers.
  • 59% of women feel misunderstood by food marketers.

 The report concludes by noting that women aged 50+ have a combined net worth of $19 trillion. Women aged 50-70 are the largest segment of female consumers and are by far the biggest spenders. Prime Timers have higher incomes, greater net worth and stronger spending than younger adults. They have the freedom and disposable income to make purchases.

For more information, please visit Fona here.

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