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AdAsia 2011 Day 3: Wallet economics - Women control two-thirds of global consumption

An Asian woman is not same as rest of the world largely because of their economic stage. But what are the other stimuli?

AdAsia 2011 Day 3: Wallet economics - Women control two-thirds of global consumption

However, the focus of the Asian woman consumer is somewhat different from Western women largely because of the different levels of economic stage prosperity and cultures.

Neha Saraiya | Delhi | November 4, 2011

With marketers waking up to the increasing voice of ‘women consumers’ in purchase decisions, Day 3 of AdAsia 2011 had a session dedicated to the fairer sex, titled ‘Marketing to women consumers in Asia’.

Abheek Singhi, BCG Korea, set the pace of the debate saying, “There is a revolution taking place, a quiet economic and social revolution.”

There may be no violence in the streets but there is an upheaval in the workplace, turmoil in the home, radical change in the marketplace and a struggle for influence in government and society as a whole. It is the revolution of, by and for women driven by a desire.

Today’s woman wants more on different dimensions, be it being ambitions about her family or being brand conscious. Women now vote with their wallets as they effectively control annual discretionary spends up to $12 trillion out of a total of $18 trillion, translating into two-thirds of global consumption.

However, Singhi also pointed out “ten common mistakes by marketers catering to women, besides the men failing to listen to them”. These include:

  • Ignoring the importance of emotional appeal
  • Cutting price to build sales
  • Changing or introducing offerings within very short time periods
  • Underestimating the importance of the colour pink
  • Failing to differentiate from the 'me too' goods
  • Communicating clumsily
  • Overlooking the need for time-saving solutions
  • Ignoring the importance of community
  • Forgetting design aesthetics
  • Underestimating the importance of love

He empahasised that many organisations still live in the ‘QSQT’ (quarter se quarter tak) mindset. He validated this point stating that 98 per cent of men do not know the name of the toothpaste brand they use, while among women this number is just 50 per cent. However, some brands like Dove and Gerber “really get the beat of the nerves of women consumers”.

How different Asian women are from their Western counterparts was highlighted by Yeonhee Kim, BCG Korea. She delved into the typical characteristics among Asian women consumers. Firstly, women in Asia are a lot more optimistic about their community and future. Secondly, they have lesser control on their household spending as they rely on their husband’s income. Thirdly, in global markets women are less satisfied with consumer durables and financial services companies, but in Asia women focus heavily on household products and the personal care segment.

The fourth point to note is that among the three top Asian markets of India, China and Japan, the literacy level amongst women is 54 per cent, 91 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively. This also signifies that women in India spend maximum on categories like food and household items, while for China the focus is on cosmetic products and Japanese women indulge in travel related expenses.

Kim concluded, “Women worldwide represent the largest pool of growth ever. Her progress and increased economic influence is an inescapable phenomenon.”

She added, "There is a vast business opportunity that lies in filling the gap on the time constraints of a woman consumer. This can be done through customised products and service needs.”



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