Female shoppers need nuanced approach

01 July 2011

NEW DELHI: Marketers must take a nuanced approach to engaging female shoppers in countries like India and China, in recognition of their differing lifestyles and preferences, a global survey has found.

Research firm Nielsen polled nearly 6,500 women in 21 nations across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Some 87% of Indian contributors stated they are "stressed" and "pressured", a perception held by 74% of their Mexican counterparts, and 69% of Russians.

The highest scores here in advanced markets came from Spain, with 66%, as France yielded 65%, and Italy registered 64%.

A further 68% of interviewees asserted women should have a lead role in purchasing health and beauty goods, sliding to 46% for food and clothes.

Most of the remainder wanted to hold an equal status with men in these categories, according to Nielsen's findings.

The greatest number of women thought men should assume the primary responsibility for buying home and personal electronics, and cars, although joint decisions were again typically the preferred option.

Looking to media, the web, television and cellphones had all achieved at least 90% penetration in mature markets, where smartphones scored 37%.

While TV has a 98% reach in emerging nations and mobile phones recorded 89%, totals fell to 46% for the net and 18% discussing smartphones, but the last two figures are rising rapidly.

Social networking uptake was strongest in the US, on 73%, with Italy and South Korea both on 71%, Australia hitting 69%, Brazil logging 63%, and Germany supplying a 50% penetration level.

But only 10% of women agreed they were influenced by advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and Orkut.

Recommendations from friend or family members constituted the most trusted source of information, mentioned by 78% of respondents.

Consumer reviews took second place in mature markets, delivering 49%, ahead of newspaper editorial, with 35%, and brand websites, on 32%.

Shoppers in emerging nations put branded websites in second position, on 60%, giving editorial content 56% and consumer reviews 54%.

Over 40% of this audience also trusted radio, magazine, outdoor, newspaper, television and search advertising, as well as product integration in shows and branded sponsorships.

These figures often almost double the equivalent ratings provided by participants in geographies like Western Europe and North America.

Television was named as the favoured source of discovering new product information by 54% of the panel in emerging markets, beating word of mouth (WOM), on 18%, and newspapers, with 10%.

By contrast, television secured 24% in more mature economies, internet search received 15%, and WOM lodged 14% for recently-launched goods.

Among the sample from fast-growth economies, TV posted 42% for identifying potentially attractive new stores, outperforming word of mouth's 18% and the the 10% generated by newspapers.

Returning to areas such as Western Europe and North America, WOM registered 23%, trumping TV's 14% and online search's 13%.

Quality was the attribute that most inspired brand loyalty across all of the countries assessed, with the sole exception of the UK, where trust was the top factor.

Trust also claimed second spot in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey and the US.

Participants in India, Malaysia, Mexico handed price this status, while Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish contributors all opted for efficacy.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff