BY THE NUMBERS

Financial Services

  • 89% of financial account openings are controlled by women
  • Women sign 80% of all checks, business and personal
  • Women hold 76 million credit cards compared to 68 million by men
  • Women take care of 75% of family finances
  • 50% of all stock market investors are women
  • 66% maintain investment accounts separate from their spouses

Homes

  • Women control the purchasing decision for 91% of all home sales
  • Single women purchase 33% of homes compared to 13% of single men
  • Women make 94% of all home furnishings purchases

Consumer Purchases

  • Women make 81% of all consumer purchases in the U.S.
  • Women buy 65% of new automobiles and 53% of used cars
  • 66% of all computers are purchased by women
  • Over 90% of all electronics purchases are made by women

Health & Relaxation

  • Women control purchasing decisions for 62% of healthcare
  • They purchase 65% of over-the-counter medications
  • 92% of vacations are planned or purchased by women
  • 53% participate weekly in online social media

Businesses

  • Over 50% of businesses are owned by women
  • Women-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of men-owned businesses
  • 90% of working moms use the same products for work as they do at home

Most Important…

  • 91% of women say advertisers don’t understand them

ACTON Marketing introduced Marketing to Women strategies to financial services marketing in 2003. We are the only financial services marketing company that has studied and tested the concept, and we use one of the leading researchers in the field as a consultant.

EXCERPT…

From the publication
MARKETING TO WOMEN

Women control the wealth

"For the past 15 years," Barletta says, "women have been taking home a substantial majority of college degrees — 57 percent — or one-third more than men."

Their better education has led to better jobs, including many in the boardrooms across America. Of course, better jobs have meant better pay. In the past three decades, women's earnings (adjusted for inflation) have soared 63 percent, while the median income for men has barely moved the meter (just a 0.6 percent increase). Women’s earning power has improved so dramatically that today, 48 percent of working wives provide at least half of their household’s income, with 30 percent of working wives out-earning their husbands.

Now that's earning power. But what about net worth, financial assets, and investment power? Many people have heard that the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history is about to take place as Baby Boomers inherit from their high-saving parents. But few have thought about what happens next: because of women's longer lifespans, combined with their tendency to marry men older than themselves, Boomer women will then inherit from their husbands and go on to outlive them by 15 to 18 years. That means the combined wealth of two generations will be concentrated in Baby Boomer women's wallets for almost two decades — a trend investment firms can hardly afford to ignore.

It's more than the money

Women's remarkable gains in earning power and wealth ownership are only half the story. Where the rubber really hits the road for marketers is in women's spending power. Although women make up "only" 51 percent of the U.S. population, they account for a striking 81 percent of all consumer and business purchases.

"In the past, big-ticket items like cars, insurance policies, and major appliances were bought by men," Barletta says, "and they were marketed that way. Nowadays, women need their own cars, computers, cell phones, and their own investment accounts. So manufacturers and marketers are facing a whole new marketplace." Barletta points out, "Single women head 27 percent of households. That's more than one out of four U.S. households where women are the sole decision-makers. In married households, women still make most of the spending decisions, only in this case, they have two incomes to manage."

A world of difference

So women have control of a sizable amount of the nation's spending power, and statistics show they make the financial decisions, but why change the way advertisers present their wares?

It's not the product that matters, but the prospect. And studies show that male and female prospects have very different priorities, preferences, and attitudes about a lot of things. The way they move through a decision process is radically different — and often leads to very different brand and product choices.

 

Martha Barletta, author of Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment, offers her insights in this publication. She is the president and CEO of The TrendSight Group and a recognized authority on gender-focused marketing strategies.

Barletta has consulted with ACTON Marketing to develop marketing materials that address key points in a woman's buying decision process.

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