Women :Women in India believe they have greater opportunities than their mothers and are far more optimistic about the future of their daughters than women in developed markets, says the new Women of Tomorrow Study released by Nielsen. The study found that women across the globe are empowered, but stressed, with women in emerging markets feeling far more stressed than their counterparts in developed countries, however they do believe that they are more empowered than their mothers.
The Nielsen Women of Tomorrow Study, one of the most comprehensive examinations into what women watch and buy, identifies the spending and media habits of women in 21 developed and emerging countries. The survey was fielded in February – April 2011using an online methodology in developed countries and a mixed field approach of online, central location or door-to-door interviewing in emerging countries.
“The women of today and tomorrow are powerful consumers. This is evident given their growing levels of education and by virtue of many of them joining the workforce and being a contributor to the household income”, said Surekha Poddar, Executive Director, Customised Research, Nielsen India Region. “Women today feel more confident to exercise self choice, and feel more in control of opportunities. As the earning and subsequent spending power of women increase, they will have a bigger influence over key household decisions. It is increasingly important for marketers and advertisers to understand their habits and attitudes”.
Empowered Yet Stressed
Today women in emerging as well as developed markets are managing multiple roles, and theirs is not a stress-free life.
Among female respondents in emerging markets, women in India (87%), Mexico (74%), and Russia (69%) said they were most stressed/pressured for time. Female respondents from India attributed higher levels of stress to more opportunities, coupled with managing multiple roles. A critical contributing factor is that there is little spare cash remaining after basic essentials to spend on themselves or take vacations.
Amongst developed countries such pressure was felt most by women in Spain (66%), France (65%) and Italy (64%). However, nearly 80 percent of women indicated they believe the role of women will change and of those, 90 percent believe it will change for the better.
“According to the study, women say they feel empowered to reach their goals and get what they want, however this results in added stress for them,” said Poddar. “Taking their stress levels into consideration, companies marketing to women should explore highlighting ways their products can ease stress and provide convenience.”
Extra Funds, Different Allocations
Differences emerge in how women from different economies allocate additional money. More than three fourth of Indian women (76%) gave importance to saving for their children’s education. 85 percent women from Nigeria and 63 percent women in Malaysia consider saving for their children’s education important; contrasting with 16 percent of women in developed countries who believe that saving for their children is a priority.
The Indian woman today feels confident to indulge in clothes and health & beauty for herself, but when it comes to long term planning her children are her biggest focus. This trend is highlighted among working women whose contribution to family income is expected to increase, and who have an active say in household decisions.
“Even with her increasing individual aspirations, she is still family oriented, with her children being her first priority. This is clearly reflected in her wanting to save more for them rather than indulge herself in the long run,” continued Poddar.
Overall, women from developed markets plan to spend their extra money on vacations (58%), groceries (57%), and savings or paying off credit cards/debts (55% each), while women from emerging markets spend their extra money on everyday essentials such as clothing (70%), groceries (68%) and health and beauty items (53%). In emerging markets, taking a vacation ranked seventh as a priority amongst women, with 40 percent indicating they would spend extra money on it.
Across countries surveyed, women in emerging markets believe their daughters will have even more opportunities than they did, relative to their mothers. However, in developed countries, women surveyed believe their daughters will have the same opportunities as they did, not more.
Respondents from India said that women are far more optimistic about the future, and also envision a more self-reliant future for this generation of women. They will also be able to bridge the opportunity gap to a large extent. The areas that today’s mothers anticipate as the biggest areas of change are freedom to make the decision to get married, as well as the decision of whom to get married to. The trend shown in India is the highest amongst the emerging markets. The indices of change are also higher for India with regards to other parameters like ability to reduce stress, access to technology opportunities to participate in sports, purchase things they want and opportunities for leisure activities.
Overall, in emerging markets, 81 percent of women surveyed believe their daughters will have greater financial stability, 83 percent believe their daughters will have a better education and 84 percent believe their daughters will have better access to technology. In comparison less than half (40%) of women in developed countries surveyed believe their daughters will have greater financial stability while 54 percent believe their daughters will have a better education. And almost one-third (29%) believe their daughters will be less likely to retire when they choose to compared to today’s standards. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of female respondents in developed countries, however, believe their daughters will have better access to technology.
“Women in India and other emerging economies see greater hope for their daughters in terms of growth & opportunities. This is a stark difference from the women in developed economies, who have had the freedom of choice for a while now,” said Poddar.
In the Know
Nielsen found that the number one place women across continents prefer to get information about new products is television. In 10 of 10 emerging markets and in seven of 11 developed countries analyzed, television outranked 14 other sources of information. In Germany and Spain word-of-mouth placed higher than television, in South Korea, Internet searches ranked highest, and in Sweden, direct mail ruled. Word-of-mouth was listed as either the second or third choice in nine of 10 emerging markets and in eight of 11 developed markets.
Reflecting this global trend, the best way for marketers to reach out to the Indian woman consumer remains Television and Print media.
Quality Drives Loyalty
The most important driver of brand loyalty in 20 of the 21 countries examined, across 12 factors and across generations, is Quality. Women in the United Kingdom cited trust ahead of quality. Additionally, Nielsen found that the most important drivers to bring women into the store for products such as food, beverages, health and beauty products, pharmaceuticals and electronics, was good value and quality.
India too reflected the same trends while price was the next consideration, the last being innovation.
In India, in terms of consumption of media, Indian women are now viewing more television than they were two years ago, and are cons
uming more television than their global counterparts (51% India, 40% Global) .Internet use among women in India is still very low (10%), but is slowly growing – as 20 percent of users claim that they use the internet more than they did 2 years ago.. Traditional media has much more of role to play in the Indian context.
Among the net connected women in India, the highest agent of change has been the computer (77%), internet (77%) and the cell phone (70%) which were cited as the top three in making their lives better.
“When it comes to enhancing lives, women from India are slowly being influenced by their use of technology and access to the Internet, though there remains a significant reliance on traditional media.,” notes Poddar.
“The next generation of female consumers will shop and use media differently, from men and generations before them. Companies marketing to women must take note of what they are now watching and buying. The Indian woman on the whole is exploring emerging media, while retaining her trust in traditional media. However, now, the focus should be on the message in communication rather than the mode of media to tap into this woman of tomorrow,” said Podda.
Other Key Findings:
When Nielsen compared results of the Nielsen Women of Tomorrow Study to its Q1 Global Online Survey it found:
In India, there is a desire for shared life responsibilities between men and women, although traditional roles continue. The study shows women have expressed a desire to have a greater say in decision making when it comes to personal electronics, finances, and insurance. However, men still view themselves as the primary decision makers for these categories. In the health & beauty department, women are the undisputed decision makers. However, the woman of today wants to move beyond just influencing purchase of groceries and health and beauty products. She would like her personal preferences to be considered even for home electronics and personal electronics.
Gaining Women’s Trust
Across 22 forms of advertising, Nielsen found that “recommendations from people you know” is by far the most trustworthy advertising source for women surveyed in developed (73%) and emerging (82%) countries, followed by branded websites (60%, emerging countries) and consumer online opinions (49%, developed countries).
In India, with 77% trusting recommendations from friends, followed by branded websites (70%) the third most trusted was editorial content in newspapers (66%). The sources that are lowest on trust levels are ads on mobile phones and online banner ads. The route of traditional media is still paramount amongst marketers targeting the Indian woman consumer.
Women in emerging markets, among the net connected, are more influenced by web ads shown on social media sites than those in developed countries. Indian women were the most highly influenced group by web ads and women in South Africa and Russia were least persuaded. In developed countries, respondents in South Korea were most moved by social advertising and women in Australia and France were most impartial.
The Nielsen Women of Tomorrow study was conducted between February and April 2011, polling nearly 6,500 women in 21 developed and emerging countries throughout Asia Pacific , Europe, Latin America, Africa and North America. The sample was fielded using an online methodology in developed countries and a mixed field approach of online, central location or door-to-door interviewing in emerging countries. The margin of error is ± two points. The countries in the study represent 60 percent of the world’s population and 78 percent of the GDP.