MUMBAI: Middle-class women in emerging markets spend twice as much as men on people-centric purchases, new research has revealed.

Ogilvy and Mather's Velocity 12 research (which explores opportunities and challenges in 12 of the fastest growing middle-class markets) has shown that women spend their money differently to men.

In these emerging markets, women reinvest 90% of their income back into human resources: family, healthcare, education and nutrition. That figure is twice what men invest. (For more, read the Warc Exclusive report: From Home-Maker to Change-Maker: How women are driving growth in China, India and Indonesia.)

The research also indicates that women in emerging markets have very different views to their mothers and grandmothers on gender norms, and are more empowered by education and workforce participation to spend money on themselves.

China and India, in particular, are seeing the emergence of empowered, middle class women with increased spending power – and brands are already responding.

Female earnings in China have increased tenfold in less than two decades and are forecast to grow to $4 trillion by 2020. Likewise, the earnings of India's working women will more than triple to hit nearly $900 billion in the same time.

And as the role of women in these developing markets changes, so too is the way women are portrayed by advertisers. Over recent years, they have moved from being depicted as essentially passive family servants to capable and ambitious individuals.

In China, for example, women account for a quarter of all entrepreneurs, while 55% of new internet businesses are founded by women, while in India, 59% of women say they're generating their wealth. And in Indonesia, 18m women are involved in online selling, which provides them an average of 33% of their weekly income.

Data sourced from Warc