While women all around the world control the majority of the spending decisions today, continued gains across the working world and politics are paving the way for women of tomorrow to exert more influence than ever before.
Nielsen recently released a comprehensive study about the spending and media habits of women across 21 developed and emerging countries. At the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference in Frankfurt Germany, new findings about the women of Germany were revealed.
Plateau of Hope
While the majority of German women believe they have more opportunities than their mothers did, there is plateau of hope when it comes to expectations for their daughter’s future. Less than one-third of German women believe their daughters will have more opportunities to travel (29%), to buy the things they want (32%) and need (30%), to define their career (38%), or to pay off debt (20%).
One in three (31%) German women expect they will achieve positive income growth over the next five years. This is more than in France where only one in four women believes the same, but less than the average of women across other developed countries (55%). “However, German women long for things that allow for ‘me time’; that create comfort in their lives,” explains Sarah Auer. “To fulfill their need states, women need breathing space amidst the different roles they fulfill throughout their lives.” German women would therefore spend any income gain primarily on holidays (70%), clothes (59%), food (52%) and savings (47%). Only one in five (22%) said they would spend extra money on their children’s education.
These percentages contrast sharply with women across other developed countries – especially when it comes to holiday spending: 58 percent of developed women agreed that they would spend additional income on holidays, but 53 percent would instead buy clothes and 55 percent would save the money.
“Less than 10 percent of all food purchase decisions are decided by men,” explains Sarah Auer from Nielsen. “The point is the ‘feminization of money’, with women of today and tomorrow ready to exert their economic power – and not only in traditional areas of female spending.” German women exert more control over spending in typically male-dominated industries when compared to the global average for other developed women. Seventeen percent of German women make decisions on personal electronics spending – double the average among women in other developed counties (9%) – 14 percent on cars and home electronics (compared with 6% and 9% respectively), 19 percent on insurance (compared with 13%) and 22 percent on family finances (compared with 15%).
What Women Trust
By far, German women trust recommendations from people they know (72%) more than any other source of information. Consumer opinions posted online (55%) and editorial content such as newspaper articles (38%) round out the top three most trustworthy sources, which is consistent with the average for other developed women around the world. German women are more reticent to trust text ads on mobile phones (42%), ads on mobile devices (38%) and ads on social networks (36%), which is also in sync with the global average.
Advertisers, however, who offer real value exchange above and beyond traditional sell-to messaging, can generate exceptions. Here the key is to understand womens’ different needs, tailor messaging and where necessary adapt strategies to appeal to this discerning and highly influential population segment.
When it comes to the most important attributes when deciding what stores to shop in, German women place “good value” highest when shopping for items across all industry sectors: food, beverages, apparel, home/personal electronics Rx and cars.
Across Generations, Women are Connected
From daughters to mothers to grandmothers, women around the world are connected in many ways when it comes to shopping decisions and entertainment choices. However, there are also some unique differences that marketers need to be aware of when communicating with them. Women make more use of the telephone and send more text messages than men, also using the Internet more intensively with longer spent per web page. While younger generations are typically more impulsive and heavy media users, older generations are frequently the most habitual relying more on recommendation for purchasing decisions. As technology usage continues to expand and become more accessible, the generation gap is closing.
To read more about women of tomorrow around the world, download the full report, Women of Tomorrow.