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Women Consumers: Key Factors Marketers Need To Know To Effectively Target This Powerful Demographic

March 22, 2019 Sarah Cavill

women consumers

Women consumers are a powerful demographic. However, ascertaining a full picture of how women spend their money can be complex, because despite certain shared interests, women aren’t monolithic. “While it’s important not to stereotype women... there are some common threads between the female audience,” said Dhanusha Sivajee, the EVP of Editorial and Marketing at XO Group Inc.

Understanding female commonalities can create opportunity for brands to reach women consumers, 91% of whom feel misunderstood by advertisers. As more women move to the top levels of advertising agencies and more marketers understand how deep the reach of women consumers is in all market segments, the more likely brands are to successfully align their marketing objectives with the needs of women shoppers.  

Understanding The Habits, Preferences And Power Of Women Consumers Should Be A Part Of All Marketing And Revenue Decisions

Women drive 83% of all consumer purchasing. Whether directly or through their influence, women’s purchasing power can be attributed to the multiplier effect. Women buy for the children and elderly in their lives – and other extended family and friends –   because they are most often the primary caregivers or points of contact. As a result, female influence and purchasing totals $7 trillion in the U.S. annually and $20 trillion globally.

75% of women identify as the primary shoppers in their homes. Female-influenced purchases include 93% of over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals, 93% of food, 92% of vacations and 91% of homes. Even areas traditionally marketed at men, like cars, home improvement and electronics, are purchased by women 50% of the time.

Women’s voices behind the scenes may be integral to the success and sale of items. Although brands are often careful to show women represented in front of the camera, it’s critical that female representation take place behind the camera as well, particularly in marketing, account management and product development.

“It’s important to remember to not just put women in your advertising but rather to have them front and center of your content and product development. Beyond just seeing themselves in advertising of a product, women’s needs should be key in developing the product,” says Sivajee.

Globally, more women are in the workforce than ever before. Women are getting married later and having fewer children. Among Millennials, 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal, and 87% define success as being able to shape their own futures. With an estimated $12-40 trillion in wealth being transferred to women in the next decade, understanding how to market to the female consumer (and not as an extension of her husband) can be critical to a brand’s success.

Women are the driving force behind many popular trends in shopping. The growth in subscription boxes, digital features that make offline shopping easier, companies with strong backstories and brands that align themselves with causes can all be tied to the female influence in commerce.

women consumers online shopping

58% of all online shopping is done by women, and 56% of women use social networking sites. Women shoppers are more likely to seek out sales, shop for future needs, use chatbots and demand higher standards for customer service.

Women shoppers are more inclined to be brand loyal — and brand loyalty lineage (intergenerational patterns of preferring specific brands) usually follows the “dominant woman in the household.” 47% of Millennial women know their chosen brands’ stories, and 41% are familiar with the founders of their favorite brands.

90% of all women are likely to share a product or good deal with a friend. Among black women, 43% say they share their opinions about products by posting reviews and ratings online, and 47% say friends and family seek them out for advice before buying specific products. Brands are encouraged by female shoppers to make sharing programmatic, easy and turnkey, since convenience is a high priority for women consumers.

Women are an increasingly educated, entrepreneurial and driven demographic, responsible for shaping buying trends and moving a tremendous amount of money worldwide. It’s imperative that brands target women consumers with informed, researched and data-driven approaches.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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