A new “female economy” will drive $5 trillion in incremental global spending during the next several years, according to [pdf] a new book from Boston Consulting Group.

“Women Want More” advises marketers that 1 billion women work worldwide, more than half of college students are women, and women control more than half of the wealth in the US. The book provides the following suggestions on major challenges affecting women, the six different female consumer archetypes, and categories which do and fail to meet the needs of female consumers.

Time is Biggest Challenge
Women typically feel a lack of time in their lives and pressure to contort time to complete all their necessary tasks. The time challenge can be divided into three segments:

1. Too many demands. Almost half of women surveyed said there are too many demands on their time.
2. Too many conflicting priorities. Not only are there too many demands, but many of them directly conflict with one another.
3. Not enough time for me. Women have a lack of leisure time. “Not enough time for me” was the top time-related concern of 45% of women surveyed.

Six Female Archetypes
Boston Consulting Group categorizes most female consumers as belonging to one of the following six broad archetypes:

  • Fast Tracker: A high-driven perfectionist who wants to make the most of everything she does.
  • Relationship Focused: A woman who may live with a romantic partner and spends most of her free time with them.
  • Managing on Her Own: A divorced professional who likes being independent but hopes to marry again someday.
  • Pressure Cooker: A married mother with a full-time job who lacks the time to manage everything in her life and the resources to obtain help.
  • Making Ends Meet: A low-income woman who may have health problems and struggles with frustration and debt.
  • Fulfilled Empty Nester:A married homeowner with grown children who no longer live at home.


Socio-economically speaking, fast trackers tend to be of upper middle, upper or elite economic class and single, married without kids, married with kids or empty nesters. Fulfilled empty nesters and managing on her owns tend to be middle or upper middle class, with fulfilled empty nesters being empty nesters and managing on her owns being divorced.

Pressure cookers can be anywhere from lower to upper class, depending on whether they are struggling for stability or successfully multitasking, but are usually married with kids. Relationship focuseds tend to be lower, lower middle or middle class. They are usually single or married without kids, but are more likely to be single at the higher ends of their earning scale.

Making ends meets are usually lower or lower middle class and either single, empty nesters or divorced.

Categories That Serve Women Well

Food: Food is both a pleasure and challenge for women. Worldwide, they perform most food preparation and want supplies to combine healthy choices, convenience and affordability. Women see food as adventure and education.

Fitness: Women want to be thin but healthy. Twice as many think they are overweight as actually are. Women constantly work to manage health, weight and fitness and look for better ways to do so.

Beauty: Women seek beauty that combines physical appearance, fitness, health and wellness. They always hope the next product will provide a better answer and want companies to reach out to them.

Apparel: Suppliers that provide a “fit” guide will earn loyalty and save time. The growth is in fashion that is affordable. Women are always looking for the “next” thing.

Categories That Frustrate Women

Financial Services: Women do not care about money for itself, but as a means of caring for their families and selves and improving long-term security. They are not interested in complex money-manipulation methods. They are most interested in solutions that help manage daily and monthly household finances.

Health Care: Women value health second only to love, but are dissatisfied with health care. Appointments are difficult to make, doctors are overbooked, multiple appointments are often required even when not really necessary, and women generally pay 30-50% more for health care than men of the same age.

How Marketers Should Appeal to Women
Marketers targeting a female audience need to understand the critical difference between men and women, according to Dr. Bob Deutsch of marketing firm Brain Sells. Namely, women cycle and men consummate. Deutsch further defines this key difference between as the sexes as females being oriented toward the conceptual, underlying dynamics, the relationship between things, and to stability over the long-term. The female understands and sees patterns over time.

In contrast, males are oriented toward the present, the concrete, the visual, winning, and themselves. Evolutionarily speaking, the male must “bring home the bacon.” Above all else, males are pragmatists.

About the Data: “Women Want More” is based on a 2008 global survey of 12,000 women with a wide range of incomes in 22 countries conducted by Boston Consulting Group.


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