Ipsos MediaCT has released the results [download page] of the 5th wave of its “Women, Power & Money” study, co-developed with FleishmanHillard and Hearst Magazines. As part of the study, the researchers look at the factors – aside from price – that are important to American women when choosing brands, noting that only about one-third of women agree that “all brands are pretty much the same,” compared to 37% of men. So what factors top the list when excluding price from the equation?
Results from the survey indicate that the brand must be reliable (87%), trusted (82%) and have excellent customer service (81%). These 3 factors were not only tops among women, they were tops across generations and genders. The next tier of “extremely” or “very important” factors for choosing a brand are that it treats employees fairly (69%), is made in America (63%), is an American brand (61%) and that it has a rewards or customer loyalty program (61%).
Interestingly, social programs are less important to women. Being environmentally friendly (54%), giving back to or supporting the local community (45%) and being affiliated with a charity or cause (29%) are certainly important to some, but these factors tend to trail other value considerations.
Compared to men, women appear to attach more importance to most of the identified factors, with some of the highest discrepancies reserved for customer service excellence (81% vs. 70%), fair treatment of employees (69% vs. 56%) and environmental friendliness (54% vs. 43%). In fact, of the 11 factors identified, men only found one to be more important than women: the brand being known for innovation (52% men; 45% women).
The study also looks at women’s openness to new brands across 12 separate categories, asking them to choose whether they would describe themselves as “loyalty to certain brands” or “open to a variety of brands.” Significantly, just 29% of women on average across the 12 categories described themselves as loyal, compared to 37% of men. The categories they were most likely to be loyal to brands in were beauty/personal grooming items (46%), personal care items/toiletries (45%) and automobiles (42%). By contrast, just 7% described themselves as loyal to brands in the household furnishings and dÃ©cor space.
When choosing brands, women cite the following sources of information as their most important: customer reviews (76% citing as extremely or very important); information from people they know (68%); and expert opinions and reviews (60%).
About the Data: The data is based on surveys conducted in February 2013 among 1,008 US women and (for comparison purposes) 503 US men. Respondents were aged 21 to 69, with annual household incomes of at least $25,000, reflecting a population of more than 78 million women in the U.S.