Branding Blog

I Am Woman, Watch Me Shop

Source: MARKETING Magazine Malaysia

I read this article in the MARKETING magazine, the other day, about women consumers. The writer managed to dig some pretty good insights on the female purchasing power, which I’d like to share with you.

The role women play in the world’s economy has become increasingly important in the past decade with more women enjoying better education and joining the work force. In Malaysia, according to the Economic Planning Unit, more than 63 percent of women are going to college and becoming professionals; and almost 50 percent of working-age women are working outside of the home with just about half of them taking higher paying jobs as lawyers, doctors or in the customer service sector.

Women represent almost half of the world’s population. In Malaysia alone, there are more than 13 million women, that is 13 million potential consumers that may need, crave and use your Brand at some point in their lives. If to that we add the fact that women’s life expectancy is longer than men (76.4 years for women versus 70.6 for men in Malaysia) we can see that the Ringgit’s potential behind the female market can be even more important or bigger than the male market.

Women are in fact a very big and important market. You may ask yourself: Should I target them if I am not involved in the marketing of usually-associated-to-women products such as food, beauty care and household cleaners? Why should I be interested in women if what I am selling are cars, computers, insurance or houses? Read on…

Women and shopping are associated like peanut butter and jelly or coffee and creamer. Let’s face it, it might be cliché but most women like to shop, and even when they might not like it that much, they might have to shop anyway. Think about it, in your household, unless you are a single male living alone, most surely than not, the woman in the house is in charge of buying pretty much everything, from groceries, hygiene products, household cleaning products, kids clothes and school supplies to furniture for the house. And they are doing so not only using their own money but also using that of the main family supporter, whoever it may be. Talk about some serious money to spend.

Nowadays women are not only involved in regular everyday shopping, they are also an influencing hand when it comes to family’s large and important purchase decisions such as buying a new car, a new home, medical insurance, computers and traveling, just to name a few. It is important for companies to really understand the potential behind their female consumers.

Men and women are different, not only from the evident physiology and psychology parts but also in their purchase decisions and post purchase behavior.

Gender-neutral advertising when targeting women does not work. When thinking about making a purchase, even if it is the same product, men and women look at it differently and need singular needs fulfilled. From something as basic as shampoo, men might just want something to clean their hair while women would need a product that looks nice on the shelve, takes care of a particular type of hair, has a nice smell, a practical bottle, that has a conditioner included and maybe also a Brand that takes care of the environment. Although they are both looking to buy the same product, there is no way that you would be able to sell it with the same communication strategy. Men and women perceive things differently and have different attitudes and communication styles.

For instance:
* Women ask around, when they have a need for a product or service, women ask their friends, family, sales people or even go on the net to get information. Men? Their approach is the same as asking for directions, they just don’t.

* They want what they want, they don’t want an almost-there meet for their needs, they want the perfect solution for their needs.

* If they are not one hundred percent satisfied, they will continue to search between Brands until they get exactly what they are looking for.

* Their purchase cycle is not over once they buy your Brand. They will continue to demand perfect service and results after the purchase, and you know what? Women talk! They will let everyone know whether they liked or disliked your product.

There are three factors that many companies do not take into consideration when assessing the potential behind the female market:

1. Women are very loyal consumers.

2. Women are walking advertising for your Brand.

3. We are more likely than men to tell our friends and networks if we like like (or dislike) a brand.

Therefore, companies that pay attention to the female consumer and put their efforts to involve retraining sales staff or redesigning products, there’s a big chance they could hit the mother lode.

For more on this topic, read this articleon The Economist.

  • Jayne


    I’m a walking advertisement.
    Funny that we don’t notice that ourselves, but it’s pretty true.

  • Peter Gan

    In the world of business, this is the mantra;
    Nothing happens until somebody buys something…
    Ahhh…Women! That’s why I love em!

  • jennesis

    even if i have $1 billion to shop, i don’t think it’s enough.

    for a girl, it’s never gonna be enough, rite?

  • Chan

    Jenn, for women, NOTHING is ever gonna be enough 😛

  • jennesis

    human nature lah. not only girls mah. e.g. boys always want bigger, faster cars…?

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