Who makes the money and who spends it dictates who's in charge of the economy. Of course, from a business standpoint, this is crucial. Businesses need to cater to the majority, and overall that means women. Like it or not, gentlemen, the ladies' plan and coordinate the finances in the majority of US households. The women hold the family expenses together and keep everyone accountable. They control the purse strings. But what about on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Time has reported that in 147 of the 150 biggest metro areas in the US, younger women earn higher than younger men. Women in general have more degrees than men, and nearly 50 percent of farm jobs in the US belong to women.
According to Nielsen report, U.S. Women Control the Purse Strings, women in the US spend between $5 trillion to $15 trillion per year, 66 percent of all consumer wealth is slated to belong to women by they year 2025 (right now women "only" hold 60 percent of all wealth). Women buy 68 percent of all new cars. Eighty-five percent of all consumer purchases in the US are made by women, even though just 75 percent of women consider themselves the primary shopper in the household. In other words, it's not a question of who has the most buying power--the answer is obvious. It's women.
With Black Friday fast approaching, what does it mean for businesses, shoppers, and the economy that "Sheconomics" is in full swing? Here's a glimpse into what post-Turkey debauchery might be in store.
Black Friday: A She-Commerce vs. He-Commerce Anomaly
Of course, Black Friday was given the nickname since it's the day of the year many businesses go from in the red to in the black. However, there are a lot of exceptions at play on this knock down, drag-out fight of a day.
For example, while women generally make most of the purchasing decisions every other time of year, they're also savvier shoppers--at least according to research from The Good Stuff. And according to Experian, women have better credit, overall, as well.
And according to Experian, women have better credit, overall. However, the majority of women spend under $100 on Black Friday while men took the lead in the "over $499" category. Women buy more items than men, and men spend more only during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Women spend more online every other day of the year, generally speaking.
The good news overall is that the majority of both men (56.4 percent) and women (61.7 percent) spend less than one hundred bucks on the biggest shopping day of the year. At least that's good news for their bank accounts. For businesses, of course, it's another story. Of course, retailers expect these kinds of bargain shoppers, which is why it's about quantity not quality (or in this case, the final dollar figure at the register per shopper).
What about Cyber Monday?
In recent years, the adoration of online shopping has made Cyber Monday nearly as popular as Black Friday. However, again women come out ahead as the most frugal shoppers. On Cyber Monday, almost 75 percent of women spend less than $100 while that's only true for 50.7 percent of men.
If you think shopping holidays are geared towards women, you're wrong. According to BIGinsight, men (43%) claim to shop online during Cyber Monday more than women (39%).
Shopping online is easy, and clicking a "Checkout!" button is a lot simpler than waiting in an hours-long line. However, it also gives you a chance to get a preview of your final price in a neat fashion before you buy. Seemingly for women, this preview is their opportunity to talk themselves out of a splurge.
One of the main reasons why some people think men spend more is because they're more into technology (which of course is a high priced ticket item)--but you can forget about that. According to the "Marketing to Women" report by American Express OPEN forum, women actually buy more tech than men, both offline and online.
Parks Associates researchers found that women are more interested and likely to buy tablets, smartphones, and laptops. However, men dominated when it came to buying flatscreen LCD televisions, but not by much. The survey showed that 19 percent of men planned to make this purchase while 17 percent of women intended to.
That two percent difference in a single tech category simply isn't enough to explain why men are spending more just two days out of the year.
How to Market in the She-Conomy
The data builds the case on why retailers should make women a primary focus. The next step for these retailers is to capitalize on the first and third party data to identify and personalize the experience for these women. Through the activation of this data, retailers will have the ability to cater to different segments.
For example, Millennial Moms are very active with sharing their experiences with products and as a result are very influential with their extensive social networks. For a speciality retailer such as rue21, the ability to identify these Millennial Moms through first and third party data will help create an experience that is unique and fosters "Pinning" and networking with her peers.
In the end and as a retailer, are you going to provide the same experience to Millennial Moms and Country Squires? If you do, you are creating a huge opportunity cost for your brand and your competitors are taking advantage of your one size fits all omni-channel experience. With today's marketing technologies, you can create custom 1:1 marketing experiences to whomever your targeting.
Hunters vs. Gatherers
In a traditional hunter vs. gatherer society, men are the hunters and women are the gatherers. (As explained in detail in the book, "The West and the World: A History of Civilization" by Kevin Reilly). Yes, that's a huge blanket statement rich in stereotypes, archetypes, with threads of truth rather than solid fact.
Not all societies were hunter/gatherer, not all (or even necessarily a majority) of today's men and women fall into these characteristics, and you certainly can't make a broad, sweeping statement based on what your ancestors did. Still, it's worth noting--especially with the contemporary version of survival of the fittest (ahem, holiday shopping) around the corner.
Hunters have one goal: To take down the biggest, best, choicest animal to feed their clan. It requires tunnel vision and a little foresight about exactly how they'll manage to consume their kill in a timely manner without waste. This is the dude getting the deal on the flat-screen TV. Boom.
Gatherers have another goal: Prowess when it comes to collecting what's necessary while preserving resources. In a time when "hunting" isn't necessary on a regular basis--but rather gathering is the best way to approach an acquisition--is it any wonder women are taking the lead?
Of course, those hunting skills can come in handy regardless of your gender during peak seasons like Black Friday.
The "Sheconomics" might be here to stay, but "He-Commerce" still has their day (or two) to shine. However, don't underestimate the hunter instinct all humans, including women. After all, it was a woman who pepper sprayed 20 innocent people and women who got into a stun gun fight at last year's Black Friday sale.
Gathering is great, but when it comes to Black Friday, it's definitely more "Hunter" games than picking flowers in a meadow. It's dangerous out there, Post-Thanksgiving. Be safe, friends.