Women now drive the world economy


A good ten years ago, the Harvard business review noted that ‘women now drive the world economy’ although a survey by Boston Consulting Group at the time found that women felt ‘vastly underserved’. Has anything changed since then?

With women driving between 70 and 80% of all consumer purchasing, it’s time that women were taken seriously and not be subjected to the ‘make it pink for the female market’ syndrome. Today women tend to control family finances and make purchasing decisions, including for children and extended family.

Nielsen, one of the world’s foremost research companies, has, through a number of their research projects, found the following:

  • Seventy-one percent of South Africa’s 18-million female consumers are responsible for grocery shopping, while 60% are the primary purchaser within South African households and it’s clear that this influence will only grow, with 21-million of them expected in the local market by 2025 and their labour force participation numbers set to increase from the current 9.5-million to 11-million, also by 2025.
  • Nielsen data shows that currently 80% of women purchase most from supermarkets, their average expenditure per trip is R220 and there is an average of five stores in their repertoire. In terms of how frequently they shop, women are in store at least once a week, consisting of a bulk shop once a month and top-up shops three times a month.
  • The most common items purchased in their monthly bulk shop include skincare (body lotion, moisturisers, body wash, etc.) 61%, sanitary protection 59% and shampoo and hair conditioner 58%. When asked what they purchased on their last visit to the shops, 68% of women said fresh meat or poultry, 68% dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter), 64% bread/freshly baked goods and 61% laundry detergents and household cleaners.
  • Women’s shopping and brand habits change as their lifestyles change, especially when they become mothers, which radically alters shopping behaviour. They transition from so-called ‘selfish spenders’ who prioritise their personal desires, splurge on personal luxuries and engage in impulse buying to ‘conscious spenders’, who prioritise their family needs, spend knowingly and ask for trusted product advice with the aim of providing the best for their family needs.
  • Nielsen data has found that women are looking for conveniently located stores to ease the daily stress and pressures they face and once they’re there, they want somewhere simple and convenient to find what they need, a place that has easy to navigate aisles and good lighting, that is well stocked, displays clearly marked price points and promotions and features efficient checkout counters.
  • The good news is that 81% of women enjoy doing grocery shopping. When it comes to shopping habits and preferences a substantial 90% feel customer service is important, 84% plan but buy additional items, 71% are price conscious and 37% actively look for promotions – insights that offer interesting pointers for engagement and planning for manufacturers and retailers alike.

About Nielsen
Your business depends on finding, understanding and connecting with your best customers. As the definitive source for what drives people to watch and buy, Nielsen can help you stay on top of trends and use key insights to grow your business—in the next town and across continents. We’ll help you stand out from the competition, differentiate your offerings, develop new ones and identify opportunities where others can’t. Trends around the globe are rapidly evolving, and we’ve got our fingers on the pulse of consumer behaviour, shifting populations and new influencers. (www.nielsen.com)

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