IN THE MAJORITY OF HOUSEHOLDS,
women make the day-to-day decisions about where the family’s cash pile (however small) is spent. Even the more occasional, one-off spending decisions such as the new family car or the next holiday destination are either heavily influenced – or made by – the female.
According to AMPS (2011), there are approximately 18m women aged 15 and above in SA, and 85% of these women are actively involved in household purchase decisions, while 54% are the primary household shoppers. Globally, women account for 65% of global spending (85% in the US); and $20tr in global spending power. Moreover, this global spending power is estimated to grow to a whopping $22tr by 2020.
Clearly, t here is an enormous opportunity for brands that are able to capture the attention and hence the purse of females – particularly those who run households.
Nicole Zetler, senior strategist at Yellowwood, a local brand strategist and design consultancy, says that the power of female consumers has been recognised by business and marketers so much so that in most industries, it is no longer a differentiator but a given to have an offering focused on the female segment. “Take the financial services category, for example,” she explains. “In 2002, First For Women made a bold step by entering the market and only focusing on the female segment. After great success, other players have been forced to follow suit or play catch up; eg Lady@Out as a head-on competitor and other female-specific f inancial services offerings such as Standard Bank’s MyCard and Absa’s Absalutely Women Insurance.”
Yet marketing to women is not as simple as it used to be – with the proliferation of choice, as well as access to information via the Internet – women are far more discerning and difficult to persuade than ever before. “In the past, it was all about having a ‘pink’or ‘ lite’ version designed for females,” adds Zetler, “but the female market is more involved than that… females are seeking value and the brands that are demonstrating this value to females are winning. For example, Volvo recognised the role that women play in household purchases and therefore spent time trying to understand what it was that would really add value to women when it comes to purchasing a car.”
So Instead of just shrinking their 4 x 4s to appeal more to the female segment, the company set about making the rear seats easier to fold; boots easier to load, and colour-coded the caps of parts under the bonnet so that it was easier to understand the makings of the car. In addition, brands need to realise that women are not just one segment; there are multiple sub-segments in the female market, including the homemaker, the professional, the young adult, etc.
While some brands may still be dragging their stilletos, Zetler says that many are working feverishly to f ind the winning formula when it comes to women. “We have seen many of our clients setting up special ‘womensegment’ specific teams whose sole job is to consider how to better cater to the female segment,” she says. “It’s also common for marketers to develop female homemaker segments, especially in the FMCG category. For example, one of the large FMCG players we service has given its segment names such as ‘Doting Doris’ and ‘Enabling Enid’.”