15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
In 2008, the Boston Consulting Group ran a lifestyle survey of 12,000 women in 22 countries. Their survey findings inform the conclusions in Women Want More, a book that details the burgeoning women's consumer market.
Each chapter includes statistics, company stories, and anecdotes from individual women. Readers finish the book with an idea of how women behave as consumers, and how to gear their products for success in the female economy.
Authors: BCG Senior Partner Michael Silverstein, who wrote Trading Up (2003) and Treasure Hunt (2006). Co-written with BCG Partner Kate Sayre.
Recommended for: Corporate leaders and marketers who want to tap the growing women's consumer products sector.
Women comprise a huge potential market for companies. They control almost $12 trillion of the $18.4 trillion in worldwide consumer spending (65%). By 2028, they will control 72%. Over the next five years, they will gain $5 trillion in earned income. The result? A consumer market bigger than China and India.
That's just the beginning. So far, 80% of unemployment growth has been male, making the term he-cession ring true. Women own 40% of US businesses--and that number is growing. Women make most of the household decisions about travel, cars, and electronics. Many control household finances.
With economic potential like that, companies need to think seriously about catering to discerning females. "Making it pink" just won't work.
After reviewing the results of their survey, the authors came up with some noteworthy findings. Some of it is familiar: People have either researched and concluded it before, or it sounds like common knowledge:
1) Most women are employed.
* 71% of US mothers are in the labor force (2006 stats)
* 56% have children under one year old (2006)
2) At the same time, women still do all the housework.
* 88% are responsible for grocery shopping
* 85% make all the family meals
* 84% do the laundry
* 84% do most of the housecleaning
3) As a result, they're stressed.
* 47% say that demands on their time are the "big stress in their life"
* 45% don't have enough time for themselves
4) Finally, in an unrelated vein of womanhood, they don't feel skinny or pretty.
* 68% think they're overweight
* 44% of women rarely or never feel beautiful
Sayre and Silverstein also uncover some tidbits that you may not have heard before:
* Women's happiness, as correlated with age, is a V-shaped curve. That means women are happiest when they're young and old, but not so much in between.
* Love, health, honesty, and well-being are the four most important values to women
* When asked what makes them extremely happy, women said:
1) Pets (42%)
2) Sex (27%)
3) Food (19%)
The authors claim there are still a lot of first-mover advantages in the female market. Overall, women fell pressured for time and stressed. They're constantly looking for products that meet their specific needs (unlike men, who are more loyal to brands). If you create a product that saves women time, feel in control of their finances, or offers other key features as defined in the book, you, too, can capture your piece of the femme pie.
To learn exactly how to address women's needs, you need to consider the archetype your target market belongs to. The authors divide women into six archetypes. They're based on economic class, age, and family status. Companies need to understand exactly who they're trying to serve, and refine from there.
Although the archetypes serve the purposes of this book well, they don't take culture, lifestyle, and other important market aspects into consideration. They're a starting point for companies, but not a definitive guide for defining a market segment.
Features of Each Chapter
After explaining the archetypes, the book explores different categories of products that women care about. Each chapter is devoted to a category. Food, fitness, beauty, and apparel make up the first four categories. Financial services and healthcare, which women perceive negatively, make up the next two.
The authors cover how women perceive each product category, how they spend their money on it, and how archetypes react to it. Quotes, statistics, and anecdotes about individual women add flavor to the chapter.
The authors also describe commercial opportunities in each category, illustrating them with major corporations that "got it right." These include Whole Foods, Curves, Olay, Banana Republic, and several other large corporations.
Next, the book talks about women in low- and high-growth global economies. The former include Japan and Europe. The latter include BRIC, Mexico, and the Middle East. Readers learn more about the characteristics of women in those countries, and how to cater to them.
Before concluding the book, the authors detail women's attitudes towards charity and giving.
The book is well-written, even fun to read. The statistics, stories, and quotes in each story engage readers with the subject matter. Some topics might feel familiar--of course women don't have enough time--but the book adds value to previous assumptions by going into specifics.
Sadly, several of the characters in the book aren't original. One was sourced from Wikipedia; another came from a blog. BusinessWeek reporters uncovered this irritating fact in September. The authors have agreed to make revisions.
Also note that the book targets leaders of large, consumer-goods corporations (who might, incidentally, read the book and hire BCG consultants). It doesn't go into depth with regards to service industries, outside of financial and healthcare services. It doesn't give readers refined tips, or schedules on how to revise their product offerings. One assumes that's where the consultants come in.
The book provides a general reminder to capture a growing market. It gives a deeper definition of who inhabits that market. And, as far as business books go, it is conventional. It covers established companies and brands. It does not mention burgeoning industries (eg. the green industry) or edgy innovations.
The material is in-the-box and focused on big companies. Undoubtedly, that serves a purpose. Just know that the business wisdom within won't push many boundaries.
In sum: Useful and fun to read, but not groundbreaking.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre respond to a series of separate but related questions. Specifically,
1. Of what do women want more? Why?
2. What more do they want from the "revolution" they are now waging to increase their earning power, commercial influence, and political clout?
3. What more do they want for their family's quality of life?
4. What more do they want from the products and services they purchase and from the companies that provide them?
5. What more do they want for their community, society, and planet?
Here's Silverstein and Sayre suggestion to those who seek the answers to these and other questions: "Ask them." That's sensible if by that response they are suggesting that their readers ask the women who now purchase from them. However, many women do not always know what they want, although most tend to know what they don't want. In that event, the best strategy is to ask women to identify their pet peeves, unmet needs, greatest frustrations, etc. Silverstein and Sayre conducted extensive research that involved more than 12,000 women, in more than 40 demographic areas, from every income level and many walks of life, and in ten countries. When processing responses to the 120-question survey, presumably they kept in mind that that differences between and among women are probably greater than they are between and among men, especially given where they live in terms of legal, social, and economic status in countries whose demographics are themselves so diverse, notably the United States, China, India, Mexico, and Russia as well as those that comprise the United Kingdom. To learn more about the research and take a brief survey, please visit [...]
Throughout their lively and informative narrative, Silverstein and Sayre insert a number of assertions and observations that caught my eye. For example:
"A quiet economic and social revolution is taking place. Worldwide, 1 billion women work. More than half of university students worldwide are women. Women control half of the wealth in the United States. The female economy will have a global impact greater than the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China)... This economy represents the most important commercial opportunity in our lifetime." (Page 5)
"No brand - that is truly what she is - understands what more women want from their lives better than Oprah Winfrey...We found variations of Winfrey's motto - `Live your best life' - sprinkled throughout the 8,000 pages of comments we collected from women around the world, and we saw many more versions taped to refrigerator doors in the homes we visited during the course of our research. To women around the world, Winfrey is a welcome shot in the arm, urging them to complete their education, think big, and change the world." (Page 89)
"Companies like Curves, Weight Watchers, and NutriSystems create apostles for their particular approach and build a business model with high operating leverage. They know precisely who their target customer is and how to reach her. They know how long she is likely to stick with the program and what ancillary and supporting products and services she will be interested in purchasing...They make their products and services available in whatever form or through whatever channel they believe their consumer finds most convenient and effective. The most successful companies make their businesses a franchise opportunity so the owners become apostles and word of mouth spreads organically and rapidly." (Page 140)
"Not surprisingly, time pressure is at the heart of women's dissatisfaction with healthcare. Women are frustrated by the amount of time they spend waiting to see a doctor or to get tests done or lab work completed, and by the total time they devote to the process. They are also dissatisfied with the whole business of making appointments - scheduling is difficult, doctors are overbooked, and often patients have to make multiple appointments for services that they think could be taken care of in one visit." (Page 191)
I commend Silverstein and Sayre on the specificity of the material they provide. Not only do they cite data generated by their rigorous research, data that suggest trends, patterns, and in some instances unmet needs; they are also commendably specific when identifying do's and don'ts, suggesting which strategies and tactics that various companies have used effectively when attempting to "capture" their share of "the world's largest, fastest-growing market." They respond to what women have ranked as being the greatest challenge to them, with time ranked #1 by 47% of respondents to the survey, followed by love, family, relationships, and community. These exemplar companies include Banana Republic, Curves, Dove, Gerber, Nike, Olay, Oprah/Harpo franchises, Sony, Swiffer, and Whole Foods. These and other exemplary companies have highly sophisticated marketing initiatives, to be sure, but as Silverstein and Sayre so carefully explain, a brand makes specific promises that must be kept. Gerber, for example, combines convenience (time saver) with nutrition, Sony offers stylish products of consistently high quality, and Swiffer really does save time while cleaning floors effectively and now line extension products are being developed, in response to consumer requests for them.
I also commend Silverstein and Sayre on the wealth of valuable information they provide and on the eloquence with which they present it. It would be a fool's errand for anyone to attempt to adopt and then apply all of the suggestions they offer in this book. It remains for each reader to absorb and digest the material, visit [...] complete the brief survey, and then review all of the key principles and practices that should have been highlighted while reading the book. As Silverstein and Sayre correctly assert before concluding, companies now have three major challenges: (1) This is an undeniable emerging market. (2) It offers companies a real chance to separate themselves from their competitors. (3) Attacking and succeeding in the female economy will require skill, nuance, engagement, and investment." Where to begin? Read this book.