This particular list is from She-conomy | A guy’s guide to marketing to women: MARKETING TO WOMEN QUICK FACTS. Like all these lists (incidentally so currently beloved by MRAs), it presents women as having an amazing amount of purchasing power compared to men. Yet, yet again, it makes no distinction between
*discretionary personal spending which a woman can choose not to do and nobody except herself will care
*necessary household spending, which if the woman doesn’t do then somebody else has to get it done.
If products purchased for a household are deemed necessary by the members of a household, yet only one of the household members is the person who goes out to collect and pay for those things, is this really an exercise of power? Or just the fulfilling of a delegated logistical responsibility? After all, the person who collects and pays over money for military materiel is the unit’s Quartermaster, but I’ve never heard anybody suggest that a Quartermaster really has more purchasing power than that unit’s CO, because it is the CO who determines the parameters of the required materiel, the QM just makes sure it’s there when it’s needed. Even in a hippy commune applying a rigorously egalitarian rota system and consensus decision-making, it’s still probably going to only be one or two of the members each week doing the market run in order to acquire what the whole group needs – it’s still a matter of delegation of a task/chore.
Some of the insights in that Quick Facts article about which products a
QM woman might prefer over a rival product and for what reasons are I’m sure very useful insights for marketers and I don’t have any quibble with those points, particularly about the growing consumer independence of ageing female Boomers. But this sort of bald statistic (that “85% of all brand purchases are made by women”) without even an asterisk added to indicate that there might be a few qualifiers to be taken into consideration?
This is the sort of stuff that just feeds the fevered imaginations of MRAs who overlook the “brand” in that website’s pull-quote (after all, if it’s not a brand then it won’t have a marketing budget, so unbranded purchases are naturally enough overlooked on a marketing website): let’s estimate how many brands are purchased in a shopping trolley full of a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four? 50+ is easily done – after all, even apples and bananas are branded these days. Now how many brands are purchased by a man “networking” down the pub drinking a round of shouts? 3 or 4, tops? Is picking up the tab for a business lunch considered purchasing any brands at all?
mr tog and I make the weekly shopping list together – we both have favourite brands for some things and look for bargains for others – the parameters are agreed by both of us. Most of the time, I’m the one who gets the grocery shopping during the day while it’s not so crowded, so I’m the one who gets in 30-40 brand purchases per week at the supermarket. By comparison, my husband buys one weekly train ticket (is State Rail a “brand”?) and buys his lunch freshly made from a sandwich/salad shop every day – that probably doesn’t count as a “brand”. Once or twice a month he goes to drinks after work and buys a few rounds – 2 or 3 brands there. We tend to take turns to pay for branded fuel depending on who is driving when the gauge drops down to 1/4 full.
We engaged in a lot of market research before we bought our last car, did the test drives together of the 3 competing brands that we narrowed it down to, and signed the papers together. However, I was the one who went to take delivery of the car and make the final payment, again because it was easier to do it during the day, and as a free-lancer I have the more flexible hours. How did that purchase look to whoever tallied up these things for the marketing division – was it noted down as a joint purchase, or was it noted down as a woman’s purchase?
We needed a new laptop. We’d discussed it, what sort of processor and other features it should have. I was the one who went and bought it. I’m not the only one who uses it.
So colour me skeptical, deeply skeptical.