What women want... from their buying decisions

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on July 29, 2011

What women want... from their buying decisions

While women are universally edging out the men in most shopping categories, not all female 'chief shoppers' are equally powerful, according to a while paper published by marketing communications firm Vertis Communications.

The white paper, entitled 'Power 2 The Women 2.0', examines the current buying power of female consumers, and explores the similarities and differences in the shopping behaviours of Generation X, Generation Y, and Baby Boomer women, as well as the media channels that most influence their buying decisions.

The study found that women now wield formidable purchasing power, controlling approximately US$5 trillion in spending annually and, while they share in the ownership of many retail and marketing channels, they differ in how they interact with and respond to those channels.

Key findings from the research included:

  • Gen X/Y shoppers are more likely to shop for value, are less brand-loyal than their older counterparts and are more likely to purchase store-brands and generic products.  
  • Gen X/Y women do not watch the most television, but cite it as being the most influential in their purchasing decisions.  
  • Baby Boomers watch the most television, but they say advertising inserts are the most influential.  
  • Younger women use direct mail more than Baby Boomer women for either in-store or online purchases.  
  • While Gen X/Y women are online more than Baby Boomer women, both generations do online shopping research at about the same rate, with only a seven point difference between them.

"These findings are significant for marketers who are trying to tap into the buying power of women, because they shine a light on how females are taking over the primary purchasing decisions for items typically handled by male shoppers and reveal important differences between generations that are often overlooked," concluded Janet Tonner, director of research and analytics for Vertis. "As marketers continue their shift to use the newest technologies, it's important to remember that Baby Boomer women are the most open to new opportunities, they have money to spend, and they have more time to spend it. Marketers who want to remain competitive in this environment must take these generational differences into account."

Also included in the white paper were a number of findings from the Research Institute on Social Change (RISC), Vertis' annual study tracking consumer attitudes, which revealed that significant generational differences exist in attitudes among female consumers. For example, as Gen X women struggle to balance employment, parenting and caring for aging parents, they are likely to be resistant to change. Their need for stability, however, should not be equated with brand loyalty. For these women, a desire for flexibility and convenience from service providers and products is acute. In contrast to Gen X, Boomer women are more open to change and welcome new opportunities.

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