Men and Women Buying Habits - Market Assessment

Released on = April 16, 2007, 3:21 am

Press Release Author = Bharat Book Bureau

Industry = Marketing

Press Release Summary = Executive Summary

Market Assessment report on Men & Women\'s Buying Habits shows fundamental shifts in
the traditional balance of economic power between men and women.

Press Release Body =
Men and Womens Buying Habits

Executive Summary

Market Assessment report on Men & Women\'s Buying Habits shows fundamental shifts in
the traditional balance of economic power between men and women. The impacts of both
prolonged prosperity and the rise in the number of women entering the workplace have
brought male dominance of `big ticket\' consumer spending to a new tipping point.
Similarly, the growth in Internet retailing has brought a reversal in the previous
male dominance of this distribution chain. Research indicates that women are now the
leading Internet shoppers, in terms of both volume and value. Elsewhere in the
economy, new developments in both retailing and marketing are challenging those
stereotypes that had influenced strategic thinking in retail.

The UK economy underwent a short, sharp shock in 2004, after interest rates rose.
Consumers were forced to rethink outstanding credit arrangements and to rein in
their spending. Consequently, consumer expenditure slowed in the latter half of 2004
and beginning of 2005 and the levels of savings began to rise again. Research
indicates that this shift in attitude was particularly significant among men - who
tend to carry higher levels of debt and to have more concerns about repayments. The
underlying strength of the UK economy remains undisputed, as other key indicators of
low unemployment and inflation do not fundamentally challenge the pattern of rising
consumer expenditure set in the 1990s. Leisure and holiday markets continue to
benefit from the rise in prosperity.

Other key demographic data are also of primary importance in considering gender
differences in buying habits. This report highlights the rapid rise in employment
among women. A far greater proportion of women are employed in less well-paid
sectors, but women are making inroads in the higher echelons of business and as
entrepreneurs. Of greater long-term significance is the gradual rise in women\'s
wealth. Disparity remains as far as rates of pay for men and women are concerned,
but Key Note has identified trends and report findings that support the view that
women are gaining a far greater share of the UK\'s personal assets as a result of a
wide range of factors - most notably, early financial independence. The high cost of
housing is beginning to have a major impact on young people\'s spending patterns and
longer-term financial planning in relation to gender. A far higher proportion of men
remain in their parental homes for longer than women. These men might have higher
disposable incomes for a period of time - however, in broad terms, they lack the
determination that many women have to set up independently and acquire their own
assets at a young age.

Key markets reviewed for this report show the following key trends: a more cautious
pattern of consumer spending in the light of the recent corrections in interest
rates and the housing market, and a consequent reluctance to spend on `big-ticket\'
items; and major alterations in patterns of distribution, e.g. the growing dominance
of the supermarket retailers and increasing parity in patterns of demand between the
sexes, which is paralleled by the rise of Internet retailing.

The car market, in common with many other markets, has entered a competitive period
in which, although volume sales have increased, market values are declining as a
result of high capacity, high levels of imports and market saturation. Women are
still far more likely than men to live in households with no car, although the
pattern is far more equal among younger men and women. Women\'s increased earning
power and rising economic wealth therefore make them of growing importance in
expanding car manufacturers\' threatened sales targets.

The UK brown goods market shows a similar pattern of slow growth in 2005. Key
sectors, such as flat-screen televisions and camcorders, are driving market sales.
Competition in the market as a whole is ensuring radical changes in distribution. A
high number of retail outlets are closing as a result of competition from
supermarkets and the growing success of Internet retailing. Research shows little
variation in levels of brown goods ownership between the sexes, but one of the key
factors in the success of supermarkets\' strategy of selling more electrical goods is
the high number of women attracted to their simplicity and value-for-money approach,
which contrasts with the fact that specialist retailers are often preferred by men.

The holiday market has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of new spending power.
Despite the setbacks of natural disasters and terrorist attacks of recent years, the
sector remains strong; expenditure and market volumes are expected to have risen
over 2005. One of the biggest transformations in the market has been the impact of
Internet sales, which are reported by some providers to account for up to a half of
all bookings. The impact of the Internet, low-cost flights and the rise in
independent travel are creating a revolution in the way in which consumers both
perceive and purchase services. Key Note research clearly indicates that women are
no longer playing second fiddle to men in browsing and buying on the Internet.
Several providers report that women now form the majority of online visitors and

Attitudes towards shopping are clearly also changing in line with changes in
lifestyles and the increased possibilities of Internet and home shopping. Research
for this report shows a reduction in the use of cars for shopping by both sexes and
an increased alignment of shopping trips with patterns of work. There is evidence of
a growing distinction made by both men and women of shopping for `essentials\' and
`non-essentials\'. For the former, consumers now want efficient and quick solutions.
For shopping for clothing and non-essential items, expectations are building for
environments that entertain, inform and make a trip to a shop worthwhile. There is
abundant evidence within the report of radically different approaches to shopping
for `non-essentials\' between men and women - with men being much happier to `go for
the kill\', whereas women are still far more inclined to value shopping as a social
and therapeutic activity. Different shopping environments and customer policies that
accommodate different tastes of the sexes may have their place but today\'s
marketplace also demands a far more complex approach, which takes a much more varied
customer base into account. For example, research from the US suggests that patterns
of shopping behaviour between young men and women who have grown up in affluent
households are becoming more similar (see Chapter 4 - Buying Habits - for further

A growing gender convergence in patterns of employment is beginning to lead to more
subtle marketing approaches and a rejection by consumers, and women in particular,
of those marketing strategies that stereotype and do not acknowledge the massive
societal changes that have been experienced as more women become workers as well as
mothers. Key Note highlights study findings that show an increasing dissatisfaction
among women with advertisers\' representations of modern women. Gender complexity is
the emerging trend in marketing to both men and women. Just as more younger men now
shop more frequently, more women do not want to be characterised as domesticated
shoppers - even if their appetite for shopping remains as strong as ever.

The success of both the supermarkets and Internet retailers can be said to owe more
than a little to a gender-free approach, where men and women are treated on a more
equal basis. The growth in broadband access in UK homes will be a major driver of
future UK sales growth. Research indicates that women have now overtaken men as
online shoppers and, by 2010, around 20% of UK shopping will be carried out online.
Other significant findings include a focus on women\'s growing independent wealth
which will impact on the markets for luxury goods. Consumer research for this report
also offers extensive detail on different patterns of decision-making between the
genders in terms of shopping, car use and home shopping and the remarkable rise in
solo shopping for both men and women.

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