The $5 Trillion Opportunity to Understand, Satisfy Women: BCG Study

Articles
August 20, 2009

The $5 Trillion Opportunity to Understand, Satisfy Women: BCG Study

Marketers trying to understand the new female mindset can gain insights by studying the results of a new global survey by The Boston Consulting Group.

Marketers trying to understand the new female mindset can gain insights by studying the results of a new global survey by The Boston Consulting Group. It exposes a chasm between the stresses that working women face and the degree of satisfaction they get from companies attempting to serve them.

The comprehensive study of more than 12,000 women in 22 countries did address food within the context of women’s outsized burden - the responsibility for most key facets of home life. While 70.9% of mothers in the United States were in the labor force in 2006 (most with a child younger than one year old), 88% of women claim responsibility for grocery shopping and 85% for meal preparation. The numbers are nearly as high for laundry, cleaning and household administration.

Not surprisingly, women experience emotional stresses and time poverty as a result. “High standards and expectations of themselves, plus responsibilities for nutrition, education, home hygiene, clothing and healthcare are the primary sources of stress,” observes Michael J. Silverstein, a senior partner at BCG and co-author (with BCG partner Kate Sayre) of a book releasing in September, Women Want More:  How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market. “Life is a pressure cooker for women. It’s a case of high expectations, high demands and few agents of relief.”

We believe at SupermarketGuru.com that stores, CPG brands and private labels are supposed to act as effective agents of relief, enabling women to care for their families and themselves day-to-day with as little fuss as possible. They don’t seem to be entirely getting that satisfaction. “Consumer companies must provide products and agents of leverage and savings that mitigate challenges and respond to women’s desires and stresses on emotional, technical and functional levels,” adds Mr. Silverstein.

While women expressed much disappointment with financial services firms, physicians, insurers and automakers, guess what? Just five percent of women say shopping makes them ‘extremely happy.’ So is shopping more of a hassle than a help to many? Higher on that ‘extremely happy’ list are pets (42%), sex (27%) and food (19%).

But, please, not too much food, since 68% of women say they believe they’re above their ideal body weight. Could this be partly the result of women’s multitude of responsibilities and lack of time to care for themselves the way they’d prefer?

We focus on food, so we selected these relevant highlights for our readers. However, the full study helps to frame the life of women as they see it, it cites their buying power, and the vast opportunities awaiting companies that straightforwardly meet women on the practical and emotional levels they seek.