By Heather Dawn

Working women’s purchasing power in the US simply cannot be ignored. According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, women with children under the age of 18 make up 70% of the US workforce.

Spending Pattern of the Working Woman

workingAs soon as any woman takes a job outside the home, her spending patterns change. She increases her household income, and her consumption. These areas include:

She might also buy more in order to keep the children entertained and feel better about being out of the house for so many hours. She will buy more for the family too, because she is working to give them the better things in life. She will also treat herself to items she feels she deserves because she is working so hard. These rewards can vary, but appealing to her sense of deserving and not wanting to miss out can trigger a range of purchases.

According to Pew Research, 40% of US households with children under 18 are run by women as the main or sole provider of income. These women need to balance the budget, but also feel they deserve the better things in life and do not have to be accountable to a partner for what they spend their money on. They manage the budget and their time, trying to do it all and have it all.

Direct selling such as Avon and Mary Kay are experiencing growth again because women are able to see friends, socialize and have fun while getting their shopping done all at the same time. They need products and services that fill the gaps in their abilities, and companies and rewards programs that take them seriously as skilled professionals, not just moms. Many of them also own their own businesses, or work a second job online or through direct selling to add income to the household and save for large purchases. When she’s saved, you can be sure she will do detailed research before she buys.

Of course, not all working women have children. In terms of single women, many might be just starting out in their careers but will need clothes, shoes and other items for their professional wardrobe, plus casual wear and dating-type outfits when they go out on the town. Starter wages have been low since the recession, and there has been a great deal of attention paid lately to the gap in wages between men and women doing exactly the same job, but women earning 30% less.

Perhaps it was due to the outcry over these statistics that the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the average wages of 22- to 30-year-old single, childless women working in many of the largest U.S. metropolitan cities are actually higher than those of men in the same age bracket.

Men are therefore choosing to get married later in life and putting off the large purchases traditionally associated with marriage and the trappings of "success," such a buying a home and a car. Many young women are earning the kind of disposable income that previous generations of women could not have imagined. This is in part due to the fact that women are earning more BAs at college than men, and the majority of master’s and doctoral degrees. Many young women are postponing marriage and children, so they are able to earn and be independent for several years before settling down.

If your marketing messaging is not already catering to successful urban working women, make a few tweaks to your copy and see what a difference it can make to your profits.

 

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