American women are striving to have it all, and they’re turning to flexible workplaces, personal connections, technology-free zones, discounts and coupons to help them find much sought-after balance in family, finances and career. According to a survey released this week by Ginger Consulting, a branding and custom research firm based in Minneapolis, women surveyed said they strive to have it all, but realize they can’t have it all at once. A majority are looking to employer flexibility and part-time work schedules to get there.
Ginger’s fifth annual “What Women Want” survey gathered insights from a nationally representative sample of U.S. women, age 21-60. The survey findings highlight the best way to reach and sell to women, the world’s mega niche that is responsible for or influences $7 trillion in annual consumer and business purchases in the U.S. This powerful segment influences more than 85 percent of all products and services purchased, including 60 percent of automobile and 40 percent of stock purchases.
“Warren Buffett said he is ‘bullish on women’ because they are the key to our country’s future prosperity. He’s right,” said Mary Van Note, principal at Ginger Consulting. “Women hold tremendous power as the household CEO. With this year’s survey, women are boldly telling those in their lives what they need to be happy, to shop at particular stores, to go green and to connect. Those who want to reach women will listen.”
What women want financially
Women have accepted living on a tighter budget as the status quo. They are looking to pay down debt (40 percent) and are on the hunt for value in every purchase they make (36 percent).
“It’s less about experiencing the thrill that comes from extreme couponing,” said Beth Perro-Jarvis, principal at Ginger Consulting. “Instead women have been trained by retailers never to buy at full price. Retailers need to learn from JCPenney’s mistake and give her a discount, a coupon, a value.”
Budgets also present a barrier for women wanting to adopt a green, organic lifestyle. Fifty-four percent report the high cost of going green is keeping them from doing so.
How women want to connect
Women are looking to bring personal, meaningful connections back into their lives. This means picking up the phone and having real conversations (43 percent). Skip Skyping (4 percent), voicemail messages (3 percent) or writing actual letters and cards (3 percent)—she just wants to talk. Women certainly rely on technology, but some believe it is becoming too pervasive (30 percent). They are adding tech-free moments back into their lives, especially at mealtime (47 percent).
When women use social media, it is to connect over personal milestones. Sharing life’s accomplishments and good news (79 percent positive) and photos of family and pets (77 percent positive) on social channels received a thumb’s up. Women are not interested in receiving invites to play social media games (74 percent negative) or check-ins at a store or restaurant (71 percent negative).
What women want in life
When striving to have it all, women aren’t looking for pampering or extravagance. Instead, they are simply trying to find balance and happiness in their personal lives and at work.
• If women had a 25th hour in their day, it wouldn’t be spent on sex (6 percent), friends (2 percent) or even the kids (6 percent). Instead, they are looking for more sleep (24 percent), more time for fitness (14 percent) and time with their significant others (12 percent).
• Women covet the idea of a celebrity lifestyle, but not the pampering of spa days (11 percent), designer wardrobes (16 percent) or perfect hair (15 percent). Instead, they want a great home (48 percent), frequent vacations (46 percent) and personal chefs and nutritionists (28 percent).
“Men, take note. Simple things, like planning a vacation for the woman in your life or taking her out for a delicious meal can make a big difference in her overall satisfaction,” said Perro-Jarvis. “We also asked women which of their significant other’s possessions they most want to toss. It came out loud and clear—if you really want to make her day, get rid of your piles of clutter (52 percent). Clean it up, and she just might let you keep that smelly sports gear (only 6 percent) or even your college sweatshirt (only 4 percent).”
• Listen up employers. Women strive to have it all (28 percent) and are looking to you for the flexibility to achieve it (21 percent).
“Recently, high-profile national employers have reduced work-from-home and other flexible work options. But women want you to know—offering flexible schedules, job sharing or part-time positions can be your competitive advantage in hiring the best women in the workforce,” said Van Note.