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Globally, women take the lion’s share of consumer spending and these figures are only going to climb. Already, they represent a booming growth market that dwarfs even the combined might of the Asian giants of India and China. Athough women trump consumer spending not everything in the garden is rosy as women continue to be undervalued in the marketplace.

Women are exposed to cynical and superficial marketing, but they have learned to sniff it out and expose it.  So, let us dive into the consumer data and uncover trends and shopping patterns that shape the whole sector.

The stellar rise of the female consumer

The stellar rise of the female consumer

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For a long time, women were underserved and misunderstood as online shoppers.  In its infancy, the online shopping sector was predominantly a male domain. Much has changed in a relatively short period of time and celebrities like Miranda Kerr have worked miracles in terms of spreading the online shopping and fashion trend far and wide. But despite rising shopping power and social position, some companies still struggle to adapt.

They fail to realize that the “make it pink” mindset or hit-and-miss guesses no longer cut it, which a condescending Dell campaign proved way back in 2009. Such lack of understanding is shocking because patronizing, stereotypical, and outdated marketing messages have caused uproar on other occasions as well.

In the driver’s seat

In the driver’s seat

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Even in the absence of such profound changes, you could say that things are moving in the right direction. Businesses are rapidly increasing their capacity to harness consumer data, which allows them to take a segmented view of the market and craft highly personalized offers.  For instance, sellers are starting to realize that women who need to juggle different life priorities need time-saving features and tailored services.  

This kind of approach makes a lot of sense due to men and women exhibiting various differences in online shopping habits. Contrary to popular opinion, female shoppers know how to set emotions aside. Namely, they tend to devise buying strategies and anticipate future needs. At the same time, women are particular about brands. Research shows that 56% of them have shopped in marketplaces, while 74% use large retail sites.

Furthermore, they like to shop around patiently and compare features such as design and price. Likewise, they are quite selective and seek products that hit all the right notes. Female shoppers are willing to pay a premium for the kind of clothing that fits like a glove. To be fair, it should be noted that they are also prone to making impulse purchases and driven by hedonistic motives.

On top of trends

On top of trends

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The shopping experience is getting more and more social and comprehensive. Thus, female buyers are rather receptive to opinions of other shoppers. In the wake of this shifting behavior, sellers have stepped up and offered online chat forums, discussion boards, striking visuals, and customer testimonials and reviews. Retailers have come to know that women are also responsive to marketing emails, coupons, sales, and discounts.

Moreover, it is estimated that 34% of female customers use smartphones (compared to 54% of males) when searching for and buying products. This means that the bulk of shopping is still carried out via laptop, from the comfort of the home. So, making creative use of online technologies is the key to gaining an edge in the women’s online shopping sector. This is not to say that traditional marketing tools fall short, quite the contrary.

Stepping into the spotlight

Stepping into the spotlight

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Women are stealing the show mostly in the foods, apparel, beauty, and fitness industries. The latter comes as a surprise to some, but many companies are making an effort to render the world of fitness more accessible to females. Products that enable women to get into shape and shed some pounds, such as quality bodybuilding shoes and clothes are more popular than ever.

Not surprisingly, the apparel sector is expanding at an unprecedented rate, yet there is much room for improvement, mostly when it comes to comfort, fit and affordability. Brands like Banana Republic have gone the extra mile to overcome these issues and they have amassed a loyal following. On the other hand, those that focused merely on style and color are underperforming.

Of course, the price of clothing is another major hurdle. Companies like H&M have recognized this and successfully outmaneuvered the competition as a result. Their clothes are fun, affordable, and trendy, and rapid turnover always keeps things fresh and interesting.  It also helps a great deal that the majority of employees and store managers are women.

In general, despite overwhelming saturation and marketing noise, those who know where to look can find a lot of untapped potential in the apparel market.

It’s a woman’s world, after all?

It’s a woman’s world, after all

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After a shaky start, women have managed to take the lead in online shopping. Indeed, women shoppers have grown into a market force to be reckoned with. Online companies are still to wake up to the full potential of the female economy, but  those who have learned to listen careful to what women want were able to get ahead of the pack. Others face the prospect of lagging behind, being hit by an avalanche of negative feedback, and eventually going under. The shopping world is your oyster.