Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do Women Really Control Spending Decisions?

For many years, the conventional wisdom has pronounced that women control 80% or more of the household spending decisions. Carl Bialik questions that statistic in this weekend's Wall Street Journal. He cites several interesting studies. For instance, Futures Co. of London published survey results indicating that only 37% of women responded that they have primary spending responsibility in their households. 85% of the women said that they had primary or shared responsibility for shopping decisions. Interestingly, 31% of men said that they had primary responsibility, and 84% indicated that they held primary or shared responsibility.

In another study, by the Boston Consulting Group, women indicated, on average, that they controlled or influenced 73% of household spending. However, men in that same study reported they controlled or influenced 61% of household spending!

Bottom line: Many consumer products and retail firms have relied on the conventional wisdom (the 80% rule of thumb) for decades. They ought to step back and consider what the data actually suggest about today's men and women. Moreover, they should evaluate how the real data might alter their marketing and retailing strategies.

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