Magazine article Marketing to Women: Addressing Women and Women's Sensibilities

Hold the Diamonds; Women Want Gadgets. (Consumer Electronics)

Magazine article Marketing to Women: Addressing Women and Women's Sensibilities

Hold the Diamonds; Women Want Gadgets. (Consumer Electronics)

Article excerpt

Who says women don't care about TVs, stereos, and other consumer electronics? More than half (58%) would choose a high-definition TV over a one-karat diamond ring, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Almost two thirds (64%) would prefer a digital camera to a pair of half-karat diamond earrings.

Female consumers spend about $55 billion per year on consumer technology, comprising almost half the overall consumer electronics market. Nearly three in 10 women (29%) describe themselves as early adopters, buying electronics when they first come out or soon afterwards.

About half (49%) of women say they're the ones who decided to buy the consumer electronics products in their households, as do 48% of men. About a quarter of women (27%) and men (24%) say they and their spouse/partner initiated the purchases jointly, and 14% of women and 16% of men say their spouse or partner decided to buy the items. While the overlap suggests there's some disagreement over who's really making the buying decisions, it also indicates that women and men both perceive themselves as being decisionmakers when it comes to consumer electronics.

Seven in 10 women (71%) say their most recent consumer electronics purchase was made for themselves, not as a gift for someone else. Six in 10 women (61%) consider themselves to be knowledgeable about consumer electronics in general. Most women say they learn about new products through family and friends (73%), while nearly the same proportion find out about electronics through TV commercials, and half (52%) through magazine ads.

Women tend to do a lot of research before making an electronics purchase: 68% of women only buy electronics once they've decided exactly what they want and where they plan to get it. About a third (35%) rely on salespeople to help them find the right product for them, though two thirds say knowing that a salesperson is working on commission makes them less likely to trust his/her advice.

Women express varying levels of interest in electronics, as well as different degrees of comfort with shopping for them. Color TVs (63% are very or somewhat interested), home stereos (46%), DVD players (43%), and digital cameras (43%) hold the interest of the greatest percentages of women. More women than men are very or somewhat interested in color TVs (63% of women versus 56% of men) and digital cameras (43% of women versus 39% of men). CEA researchers believe this may be due to women perceiving these products as having a social component; digital cameras can be used to e-mail photos of loved ones and TVs are often depicted as the modem equivalent of the family hearth.

Despite the plethora of "fashion accessories" such as cell phone and PDA cases marketed to women, these products rank lowest in women's interests (22% are very or somewhat interested).

Men (21%) are nearly twice as likely as women (11%) to say they're very comfortable buying a PDA, while virtually equal proportions of women (42%) and men (41%) are very comfortable buying a cell phone. The greater level of comfort women have with cell phones indicates that women have adopted the cell phone in greater numbers than they have PDAs and have more fully integrated cell phones into in their lives. As the two devices are similar in size, configuration, and complexity, it's tempting to speculate that the cell phone's function as a communication device-with its usefulness for safety and its role in keeping women connected with family/friends and business associates-is what makes it a must-have (and hence more familiar) for women.

When women run into trouble using a piece of electronic equipment, more than half (52%) will try to solve the problem on their own first, as will 62% of men. A third of women (33%) will turn to family members or friends for assistance, compared with only 14% of men who will ask friends or family. Few women (3%) or men (6%) look for information online, but men are more likely than women to call the manufacturer (8% of men and 5% of women) or the store where they purchased the item (8% of men and 4% of women). …

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