Statistics from across the globe would indicate that the customer is now very definitely the Queen! How would we determine who our customer is? By looking at buying power and finding out who has decision-making authority when it comes to purchasing consumables. By both definitions, the King has definitely been de-throned.
Women now make 85% of all consumer purchasing decisions in the US and account for close to 70% of all consumer spending world-wide. And this is just the beginning! The data is staggering when you see the power women hold as consumers:
- Globally, women consumers control $20 trillion in consumer spending. They make the final decision for buying 91% of home purchases, 93% of vacation choices, 95% of food purchases, 93% of pharmaceutical choices; 65% of the new cars, 80% of health care choices, and 66% of computers.
- Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in the country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion
- The number of wealthy women investors in the U.S. is growing at a faster rate than that of men. In a two-year period, the number of wealthy women in the U.S. grew 68%, while the number of men grew only 36%.
- There are currently more female millionaires than men in the UK between the ages of 18 and 44
- By next year, 2014, the global income of women is predicted to have risen by $5 trillion
- By 2025, women are expected to own 60% of all personal wealth.
There’s no arguing with these powerful statistics. Women everywhere are seen as being key to economic development and progress. Yet, they are barely present in many of the boardrooms of the world’s largest companies. Ignoring the talent of half the population is surely not the ideal way to build board effectiveness, and is even more ludicrous when it becomes apparent that the new customer is not the king, but rather the queen.
A handful of forward-thinking companies with product lines that were historically considered male-dominated, such as electronics and automotive, are starting to redirect their design and messaging at women. For the most part, though, the average female consumer still feels under-represented and misunderstood, and her power and influence is woefully under acknowledged–or just plain ignored–by most service and product companies. She may be buying, but for the most part, she’s not getting the experiences she wants. This is extremely challenging for many companies to understand, as it requires a huge shift in thinking and how business has historically been done. But the results speak for themselves:
- 59% of women feel misunderstood by food marketers;
- 66% feel misunderstood by health care marketers;
- 74% feel misunderstood by automotive marketers;
- 84% feel misunderstood by investment marketers
- 91% of women in one survey said that advertisers don’t understand them
Businesses across the globe are taking a long time to respond to these dramatic changes in the market-place. Those that fail to recognise the growing power of women in the market-place, and do not harness their talents to market to their new customer base, simply won’t survive in the 21st century.
The King is not dead – that’s not the point – but the Queen is alive and well and growing in strength and authority. In fact, she now owns more than half the kingdom. Ignore her at your peril!