From an article published in The Economic Times (online edition)
March 10, 2012 | Los Angeles
Women, who spend more time online than men, are such powerful drivers of Internet shopping and other commerce on the Web that their loyalty is crucial to consumer company profits, according to a new report. While they make up 51% of the population in the US, women control or influence 85% of all buying decisions, giving them clout as business moves increasingly into the virtual world, analysts with New York-based Needham & Co. said in the report.
They spend about 10% more time on the Web than men and make 58% of all online purchases , a number that is poised to grow. “Women are responsible for the primary trends on the Internet right now,” Laura Martin, managing director and senior analyst of the investment banking firm, said in a telephone interview from her office in Pasadena, California.
The report cited Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as examples of companies that run social-networking websites where women congregate, and sway each other’s choices about what goods and services to buy. “Sites that put social sharing functionality front and center should have the greatest economic upside,” and those that target women will grow faster, according to the March 5 report.
Women appreciate the expediency of the Internet, and its equality, said Delia Passi, founder of WomenCertified Inc. and former group publisher of Working Woman and Working Mother magazines. Her Hollywood, Florida-based firm, which awards businesses for good service based on women’s recommendations , found in a survey of 4,000 female Internet users that 71% have felt slighted at a brick and mortar store and think retailers don’t really care about them.
“The Internet has provided a beautiful solution to shopping,” Passi said. On the Internet, women dominate nine of the top 11 shopping categories, according to Nielsen. They buy most of the online apparel , travel and books, ceding only computer hardware and auctions to men.
Retail e-commerce grew to a record $161.5 billion last year, up 13% from 2010, data from research firm ComScore Inc. show. Martin said that women will be progressively more important to Internet companies , and that understanding how they interact online and why they go to the Web in the first place is crucial to marketers and program designers.
“Time is the ultimate scarce resource for women, so time spent on a site becomes a proxy for value created,” according to the report. “Sites that integrate social features should have the greatest economic upside because they can monetise this price/value ratio.”
Read the full article here