Family and friends have proved to be the most significant shopping influencers for women aged 25 to 54, according to a survey by public relations firm Ketchum, which revealed a new trend of 'CROPing before shopping'.
Most of the women surveyed (91%) said that friends and family provide either "very credible" or "somewhat credible" information for buying decisions about consumer packaged goods, consumer electronics, and food products.
The CROP trend
According to Kelley Skoloda, director of Ketchum's Global Brand Marketing Practice, women now go "CROPing" (looking for CRedible OPinions) before they go shopping. They help cut down their purchase research time by consulting a few close friends and family members, as well as any relevant experts, local news sources, or magazines.
Such sources offer credible opinions that help to determine buying decisions. In essence, Skoloda suggests, the new CROPing trend is the meeting of two hot marketing topics: word-of-mouth and key influencers.
For busy women, the ability to use CROPing to make buying decisions enables them to save precious time while researching their purchases. The survey explored different lifestyle and life-stage segments, and found:
- Consumer electronics shopping is easy but...
Three of four women say that consumer-electronics shopping is "very" or "somewhat" easy, but some aspects frustrate them. But 40% get frustrated when talked down to while shopping for consumer electronics, and 25% voiced confusion over whether to buy a warranty (28%), product complexity (27%) and having too many choices (26%).
- Research is popular, but impulse buys still happen
Most women said they do some research before making big purchases (72%), but only 35% "rarely" buy on impulse. Interestingly, 25% of women said they are usually early adopters: the first to try new products and services.
- Health is part of the definition of success
Most women surveyed felt that being healthy and having healthy children (82% and 81% respectively) are the top qualities that define success. Other leading factors include having well-adjusted children (79%), living in a nice, safe community (77%), not having debt (77%) and having a strong marriage (77%).
Bad news for ads?
Busy female consumers said they have little or no time for commercial messages, and they spend very little time on single-focus pursuits (such as recreational shopping or watching television). Fewer women than ever before are browsing shopping malls, and even when they watch television or make a family dinner, they may also be working online at the same time.
To help marketers reach the busy female segment of consumers, Ketchum's Women 25 to 54 marketing communication service provides a four-phase programme that identifies, creates and sends credible commercial messages aimed at that target audience.