There is a firm line being drawn in the marketplace today, between businesses that are making authentic efforts to not only meet but exceed the expectations of women—and those who aren’t. The power of women in the marketplace is only increasing, as it has been for a long time now, but only recently have some brands and businesses begun to take notice. Consider the following as a direct wake-up call for your business.

Women are continuing to make more and spend more, and continuing to wield a tremendous influence across demographic lines that cannot any longer be ignored. The train is taking off, and it is time for all businesses with a goal of remaining profitable to get on board—because if your business is not communicating to women, if your business is not listening to women, if your business is not actively building a genuine connection with them, then they will be spending their record-breaking wealth at your competitors who will.

What women are spending

While you probably have no doubts about the fact that women as a demographic represent a considerable chunk of the marketplace, it’s important that we see the full scope of the economic impact of women. Here are some of the most interesting data points, at a glance:

  • It has been estimated that, globally, women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending.

  • In the U.S. alone, the purchasing power of women is estimated to be between $5-15 trillion.

  • Women control just over half of all personal wealth in the U.S., and this number is only expected to rise.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 38% of married women out-earn their husbands. This statistic covers not only situations where both spouses are working, but also where the wife is the sole provider.

These statistics should illustrate for you the enormous part that women play in consumer purchasing both at home and abroad. Clearly, not addressing women in your marketing is a financial risk you cannot afford to take. Of course, the purchasing power of women is not just defined by their own spending—women also play an integral role in the purchasing decisions of spouses, friends, and members of different generations both young and old.

The Spending Power of Women

The deciding factor? Women.

As proof of this central role, research shows us that 74.9% of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for the household. That term “household” is important when we’re looking at women’s purchasing influence on other demographics. This is where women’s “multiplier effect” comes in to play.

As Bridget Brennan, author of “Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers,” explains the multiplier effect: “Because women serve as primary caregivers for children and the elderly in virtually every society in the world, women buy on behalf of the people who live in their households, as well as for extended family (such as older parents and in-laws)....”

Continuing on with this idea, 92% of women also report that they pass along information about deals or online recommendations to others. This means that, as part of this multiplier effect, when a woman has an exceptional customer experience with a business, she is very likely to recommend that business to several of her friends and family members.

If you’re a marketer in the furniture industry with a more widespread messaging target, you may fear that targeting women specifically will turn away your male demographic, another considerable chunk of the market. As it turns out, though, you can rest easy: aligning your business with the needs of women makes it more appealing to both men and women.

As Andrea Learned, cofounder of marketing and research firm ReachWomen LLC writes on Inc., “If you incorporate the higher information-delivery and customer service standards of women into the development of your product or are bound to give men a bit more than they even thought to ask for.” Because women demand more customer touch points and are more unafraid to ask questions and get the info men also want, you are guaranteed to provide even more value to all customers if you meet these needs.

Don’t miss out

If you’re not currently directing at least a portion of your marketing toward women, the truth is you’re missing out on the most important segment in the marketplace today. Women are making more and spending more today than they did even 50 years ago, and influencing the purchases of the entire household. If you don’t want to lose potential women customers, it is extremely important that you commit to addressing their specific concerns.

You’ve already made a great first step by deciding to partner with Reverie. Our company has won the Women’s Choice Award 7 years in a row, and we are proud to be recommended by 9 out of 10 of our female customers. Looking for more ways to make your business valuable to women? While there is no “one simple trick” to increase your female customer base, we’ll leave you with three solid insights:

  1. Be informative. Contrary to the myth of “women love browsing”, in reality women want to make informed purchasing decisions. From Andrea Learned: “If you truly understood the role women want your brand to play in their life, all of your efforts would focus on informing them as consumers. This includes any e-mail correspondence, site navigation, archives and customer service.”

  2. Listen to your customers. Instead of targeting women as a general group, listen to the female customers who are purchasing your product. Conduct surveys and focus groups, gather customer reviews, and just simply ask what their needs are in your specific category.

Encourage recommendations. Building on the idea of women’s “multiplier effect”, encourage the sharing of your deals and your customers’ experiences with their friends and family. Ask for honest online reviews and reward referrals. This helps to avoid that feeling of being “sold to” which no one enjoys, and increases your company’s relevancy and reputation among women.

Want to learn more about building your reputation and the best ways to get feedback from your customers? Check out our blog on how to build your reputation and make it matter.