Back in 2009, Harvard Business Review noted that “women now drive the world economy”. The article pointed to a survey by Boston Consulting Group that found that women felt “vastly underserved”. In the decade since, some companies have cottoned on to the fact that women drive between 70 and 80% of all consumer purchasing. Marketing is finally moving beyond the “make it pink for the female market” strategy and acknowledging that, as well as shopping for themselves, women tend to control family finances, and also make purchasing decisions on behalf of those in their care, including children and elderly family members.
Euromonitor International points out that “The power of the female consumer is likely to grow in the near to long term. As more women become educated, and continue to make more of their own decisions as well as those of their household, the importance of appealing to this demographic is paramount”.
A recent survey by We Are Social also found that there’s now only 1% difference between the number of men and women with credit cards in South Africa. This has resulted in more women accessing the convenience of online shopping. In fact, the report by We Are Social found that the fastest growing segments in South Africa’s online retail market are fashion and beauty which has grown by 25% in a year, followed by furniture which increased by 22% in a year.
“With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever to source information and product reviews,” says Sulette Jacobs, Marketing Specialist for LG Electronics South Africa. “We realise that whereas technology items were previously bought predominantly by men, women are now making up bigger and bigger segments of our customer base. Not only do brands need to tailor their marketing accordingly, but we also need to factor that into product development. For example, women dominate social media influencer marketing, and so we’re seeing a demand for smartphones that meet the needs of content creators, such as multiple cameras and smart filter options.”
Jacobs says that women who juggle work, family and home are also likely to prioritise convenience, and this means they are expressing interest in products that help to simplify their lives, whether that’s connected devices or even something as simple as lightweight options. “Women are looking for smart technology that bundles convenience with performance,” she says. “Brands that want to successfully attract the female market need to understand women’s needs and develop and market products that serve them.”