Some say it’s a man’s world, but women actually make most purchasing and entertainment decisions, according to a study that could influence advertisers and media companies.
It’s long been accepted that women pick out most of the clothes for the family and decide on home furnishings, but market research firm NPD’s study of 51,000 U.S. households showed some surprising facets of purchasing decisions broken down by gender.
Men defer to women when it comes to choosing movies, restaurants and television shows, according to the survey, set for release in the next two weeks.
The data indicated that women also decide where to sit in a movie theater, where to shop for food and which guests come to the family home.
In fact, the only areas where men said they had any clout involved personal electronics purchases, the family car and setting household budgets.
The gender differences in purchasing could have implications for advertising, media and education companies, said NPD chief analyst Marshal Cohen, who spearheaded the research.
“Anyone who’s managing a brand, marketing a product or working for an advertising agency needs to be conscientious in the shifts in consumer dynamics,” Cohen said.
Women are more than twice as likely to be swayed by magazine advertisements, but newspaper ads influence men more, the study showed. Also, men will more often change the channel when a commercial comes on, but women are twice as likely to leave the room.
“The guy is so involved in the financial decision that (investment advertisements) need to be in the sports or business pages of a newspaper,” Cohen said. “And if I’m going to advertise (to men), maybe I’m better off doing a commercial during the Super Bowl than an advertisement in men’s magazines.”
Findings like these could help such companies as The Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., magazine publisher Conde Nast Publications and media conglomerate Viacom Inc., which runs MTV Networks, target their audiences more accurately.
Attitudes toward education also showed gender differences. Women are 26 percent more likely to say they want more schooling, a finding that could be of interest to for-profit educators like Corinthian Colleges Inc.
In picking movies, 20 percent of the study’s male respondents said they rely on women to chose, while 9 percent of women defer to the guys. When considering where to eat, men will let women choose the restaurant 36 percent of the time, compared with 17 percent of women letting men decide.
And when watching television, 14 percent of the men in the survey said they’d let women pick the shows, while 9 percent of the women allow men to chose.
Shopping, too, showed clear differences, Cohen found. Women are a third more likely to say that shoes affect their image, and they’ll have an average 11 pairs in their closet. The average for men is 4.5 pairs.
“Women are more willing to pay more for a product, they are more brand conscious, but less brand loyal,” said Cohen. “And who are you marketing a bang-bang, shoot-shoot movie to? If the woman is choosing the theater and where to sit and what to watch on TV, well, you need to think about that.”