A ‘female hurricane’ is rumbling ashore

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A ‘female hurricane’ is rumbling ashore

Tackling the eternal question of what women want, the authors of a new book think they have the answer: more.

More time and control over their lives, that is.

A “revolution of dissatisfaction” is brewing among women, and businesses that understand that women want more time and can market to them will find a host of promising opportunities, authors Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre say in their new book titled (not surprisingly) “Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market.”

The book, based on a survey of more than 12,000 women in 22 countries, says women want products and services that free up their time. Conversely, they dislike those that require them to invest time.

“Women do not have enough time for themselves, they have too many demands on their time and they have conflicting priorities,” Silverstein said in a recent interview with Reuters.

The book is based on the initial findings of an ongoing study by the Boston Consulting Group. Among the countries included in the survey: the United States, China, India, Germany, Mexico, Iraq, Egypt, Russia and Japan.

Silverstein said women are becoming better educated as their numbers grow. Over the next five years, the number of working women worldwide is expected to balloon to 1.2 billion from 1 billion now, and they will increase their yearly earnings to as much as $18 trillion from $12 trillion, he added.

“With those increased earnings will come increased power,” Silverstein said. “That will be the greatest force for growth in the world economy. Period.

“Economic power is a force unto itself,” he added. “While there might be resistance, this is inevitable that we have a female economy.”

Companies that already understand women’s desires for more time include California-based Trader Joe’s - which offers time-saving prepared food - and Gap Inc.’s Banana Republic, which has standardized its styles and sizes to make clothes shopping simpler and less time-consuming, the authors write.

Opportunities for more companies to benefit from the female market will grow rapidly in the next few years as the so-called female economy grows, Silverstein said.

Women are particularly dissatisfied when it comes to financial services - investments, banking, insurance and credit cards - followed by health care and consumer durables, the book said.

Financial services were found to be among the least sympathetic to women, whose main complaint was advisers and agents who treat women poorly, do not understand women’s needs and do not have their best interests in mind, it said.

Women will be wielding their growing economic clout to spend on goods and services that meet their needs, and they will be turning their collective backs on those that do not, Silverstein said.

And a word of warning: Companies that ignore this trend do so at their own peril, he said.

“If you’re one of the companies that picks this up first, you’ll win in your industry,” Silverstein said. “If you’re one of the companies that picks this up last, you’ll be shaking your head and not knowing what hit you.”

And exactly what will hit them?

In Silverstein’s words, “a female hurricane.” Reuters

“Women Want More”

Authors: Michael J. Silverstein, Kate Sayre

Genre: Business and investing

Publisher: HarperBusiness
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