Rise of the Female Economy
In the book, Women Want More, the authors contend that the growth of the female economy is more than an incremental shift in society. Authors Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre, partners of The Boston Consulting Group, believe that the new women’s economy will have a global economic impact greater than the combined advancement of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
Driving the female economy are the 75 million women who work, more than triple the 18.4 million women who worked in 1950. Nearly 40 percent of these women work more than 40 hours per week.
They are also more educated. Today, women make up the majority of college students, compared to 1972 when 44 percent of all U.S. undergraduates were women.
The book examines the forces driving the female economy and what women want from their lives. The findings are based on interviews and a survey of more than 12,000 women.
The industries (out of 58 categories), based on the survey, that most misunderstand women:
- Investments (47 percent).
- Cars (47 percent).
- Banking (46 percent).
- Life Insurance (44 percent).
- Physicians (41 percent).
- Car Insurance (39 percent).
- Work Clothes (37 percent).
- Hospitals (36 percent).
- Personal Computers (34 percent).
- Lodging (33 percent).
“Women want a better handle on time, more connection and fulfillment in their lives,” write the book’s authors. “Suppliers that focus on the dissatisfactions of women in their categories will generate growth and value.”
Six Archetypes of Women
The research, the authors claim, identifies six main archetypes of women, each with different wants and needs:
- The Fast Tracker. Women who control the greatest percentage of wealth. They “seek adventure and learning, and will spend a lot of time researching products,” according to the authors.
- Pressure Cooker. The women who most feel the stress of too little time and too many responsibilities. They “are constantly on the lookout for anything that will give them additional leverage over time.”
- Relationship-Focused. Well-educated women who are more motivated by family than by achieving a successful career. As a result, “they are not particularly materialistic.”
- Fulfilled Empty Nesters. Usually in their 50s or older. They are “loyal and inspirational to women in other segments.”
- Managing on Her Own. Women who have to manage their own finances and pay their own way. This group is “looking for ways to make connections, keep themselves happily occupied and meet like-minded people.”
- Making Ends Meet. Women who are overwhelmed by managing finances. She has “well-established shopping patterns” and is “careful with her money.”
“Knowing the archetypes give you a better chance to find the right individual and then to ‘own’ her for life,” the authors write. “You could create a richly imagined consumer. You would understand her latent dissatisfactions. And your company would respond with full resolve.”
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