‘She’ Means Business: The purchasing power of the female economy

“In the first article of a series on the Science of Female Shopping, Neil Osborne explains how women are the largest spending, yet still unrecognised drivers, of our consumer economy.

It never fails to surprise me. Women make up just over half the world’s population and control well over half the spending, yet few businesses acknowledge them as the unequivocally dominant consumer force (and market) on the planet. Exactly how big is it? In aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined — more than twice as big, in fact. Given those numbers, it would be foolish to ignore or underestimate the female consumer economy. But many still do.

Ironically, despite having transformed their social position and group economic power over the last century, women are still widely undervalued. In 2008 more than 12,000 women across the globe were surveyed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), on how they felt about their work, their lives, and how they were being served by businesses. It turned out there was lots of room for improvement. And there still is. 

‘Know your customer’, is a mantra that should be embedded in every business plan. But it seems most people, even in the salon business, don’t know they don’t know very much about the female economy.

So firstly, let’s look at the size and dynamics of this unacknowledged market driver.”

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