Messages of Value, Low Price Resonate Across Generations

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The American woman is feeling increasingly independent, knowledgeable and successful as she continues growing into her leadership roles in the home, marketplace and workplace. Despite great strides, she still lags in pay and comfort in salary negotiations; moreover, there are radically differing perceptions of financial responsibility between her and her spouse, according to new research from Ispos MediaCT Audience Measurement Group. In a sense, these financial issues lie at the intersection of women, power and money, and reflect the last great bastions of gender inequality, concludes the report. woman shopping 1

In the marketplace, she dominates day-to-day spending, and shares responsibility for big ticket purchases. She brings a tremendous openness to new brands across categories, even when she is relatively satisfied with her existing choices. Her marketplace frustrations lie, not so much with the products or services she uses, but placing the onus on brands to create simple, consistent and compelling product offerings and communications.

Throughout the study generational differences are profound:

  • Boomer women perceive more differences between men and women and are more swayed by messages related to values and corporate social responsibility.
  • Gen X women are solidly in the lifestage of family formation, and the associated tradeoffs hamper her satisfaction with life more generally. She also brings a more financially constrained and price-conscious (if less satisfying) approach to the marketplace.
  • Gen Y women feel smart and successful, but also stressed and exhausted. She sees more equality between women and men; she feels the potential and the pressure of growing up in a world of supposed equal opportunity, but which in fact presents a truly uphill climb to achieve equal results. Gen Y is also a global generation of women, says the report, with perspectives and marketplace preferences that transcend borders and cultures, shaped by shared experiences of technology, social media, emerging brands and the cultural narrative that preached “girls can do anything boys can do.”

In the marketplace, she perceives herself controlling day-to-day spending, with three-fourths or more feeling responsible for household purchases, while she considers big-ticket purchases to be a joint responsibility. He perceives the division of labor differently, seeing day-to-day decisions as jointly made, and big-ticket decisions as largely his. Much of the disconnect lies in differing definitions of “responsibility.” Women likely make the vast majority of day-to-day purchase decisions, while men tend to express occasional preferences and offer cursory input – men consider this “shared” responsibility, while women feel the weight of these responsibilities.

Messages of value and low price will resonate across genders and generations. Still, there are subtleties by gender. Women are particularly value-oriented, with a preference for experiences and an openess to brands; men are less price focused, with a preference for products, familiar “comfort” brands, and an openness to re-engage the luxury marketplace.

The emergence of a globally-coherent Gen Y generation and corresponding marketplace creates profound opportunities. However, brands and messages must appeal to the unique interests and preferences of a generation that has grown up with a truly unprecedented confluence of new media and new influences.

[Source: "Women, Power & Money."  Ipsos MediaCT Audience Measurement Group, co-developed with FleishmanHillard and Hearst Magazines.  31 Jul. 2013.  Web.  1 Aug. 2013.]