Retailers Might Be Overlooking a Key Demographic as Female Spending Skyrockets
In the ever-evolving landscape of consumer spending, a remarkable shift has emerged in 2023. This year, women are wielding a more substantial influence over the market, with their spending habits taking center stage. As we delve into this intriguing development, we find that the "summer spending spark" has catalyzed a significant change, bringing with it notable impacts on the retail industry.
Traditionally, consumer spending trends have exhibited a balanced trajectory, with both men and women contributing equally to year-over-year increases. However, 2023 has rewritten this script, with women leading the charge.
PwC’s 2023 Holiday Outlook survey of 4,000 consumers revealed that women are increasing their holiday spending by a striking 11 percent compared to the previous year. For context, male spending rose by a healthy, yet comparatively small 4 percent over the same period. This divergence from the historical pattern is not only significant, but also illuminates a shift in consumer dynamics that retailers should be keenly aware of.
The 'Summer Spending Spark': A Pivotal Turning Point
This year, we witnessed what could aptly be described as the “summer spending spark.” Women dominated the headlines with newfound and empowering representation in several blockbuster movies, sporting endeavors and highly anticipated concerts. These events were not only massively successful, but also were supported by droves of women looking to support other women. Outside of entertainment, women are continuing to pave the way for a new era of professional presence, financial security and entrepreneurial ventures.
One cannot underestimate the power of these elements in contributing to the surge in spending. As we explore the nuances of this change, it becomes evident that the financial vigor exhibited by women is not a mere blip on the radar. Instead, it underscores a broader shift in societal dynamics and consumer behavior, the repercussions of which will likely reverberate across industries.
Retailers Need to Adapt to Female-Centric Strategies
This burgeoning wave of spending has given rise to a pivotal question: How can retailers adapt their strategies to cater effectively to this evolving demographic? The answer lies in recognizing that selling successfully to different demographics can differ significantly. Here are some key considerations for retailers seeking to tap into the potential of this changing landscape.
- Flexibility in Price and Convenience: One of the fundamental distinctions in the way women shop is their willingness to switch their spending from one retailer to another based on two primary factors: price and convenience, according to our study. Women tend to be more discerning in their purchasing decisions and often readily opt for a retailer that offers a competitive price point. Additionally, the convenience factor plays a pivotal role, encompassing aspects such as easy access to products, fast shipping, and a hassle-free return process. Retailers that prioritize these elements in their strategies will more likely resonate with female consumers.
- Personalization and Customer Experience: Female consumers more often value a personalized shopping experience. Retailers can leverage data-driven insights to curate product recommendations and offers tailored to individual preferences. Furthermore, investing in superior customer service, both online and offline, can make a substantial difference. Empathetic and knowledgeable staff, easy returns, and responsive customer support channels can elevate the overall shopping experience and foster customer loyalty.
- Brand Values and Social Responsibility: Women, more than ever, are concerned about the social and environmental impact of their purchases. Retailers can align their brand values with those of female consumers, emphasizing sustainability, ethical sourcing, and community engagement. Demonstrating a commitment to making the world a better place can win the loyalty of this conscientious demographic.
- Digital Transformation: With the growth of online shopping, it's imperative for retailers to continually evolve their digital platforms. This includes optimizing websites and apps for ease of use, implementing secure payment systems, and staying ahead of emerging technology trends such as augmented reality for virtual try-ons. A seamless online shopping experience is essential to cater to the digitally-savvy female consumer.
The "summer spending spark" has brought about a remarkable shift in consumer spending, with women now at the forefront of this economic surge. The rise in female spending underscores the need for retailers to adapt their strategies to cater effectively to this influential demographic.
By focusing on price, convenience, personalization, brand values and digital transformation, retailers can align themselves with the evolving expectations of female consumers.
Kelly Pedersen is the retail leader, PwC US. Barb Bukovac is the U.S. consumer markets leader at PwC.
Kelly Pedersen is a Partner at PwC, based in San Francisco, and leads PwC's US Retail practice.
With over 20 years of retail experience in both industry roles as well as a consultant, Kelly has advised retailers on a wide array of topics that range from growth and profit strategies, large business transformations, and technology and capability building. He focuses a lot of his time in the merchandising area, helping retailers organize and optimize for growth in an omni-channel environment through their product, pricing, and promotion, and inventory strategies.
Prior to joining PwC, Kelly was an executive at a large global apparel retail and also previously worked for a large grocery retailer.
Barbra Bukovac (Barb) is the Vice Chairman - Consumer Markets for PwC. In this role, she leverages her extensive industry experience and the PwC network to help solve complex challenges for clients in the constantly changing landscape of Consumer Markets. In addition to her role leading the Consumer Markets practice, Barb is dedicated to advancing women and diverse professionals at PwC and in the greater business community to help pave the way for our next generation of leaders.
With over 25 years of professional experience at PwC, she has served marquis clients within Consumer Markets and across numerous industries around the world, as both a senior relationship partner and global lead tax partner. Barb has successfully worked with many clients to deliver leading edge expertise and enable them to realize their strategic vision and thrive in a changing world. She has extensive tax experience with cross-border transactions including acquisitions, divestitures, integrations, repatriation planning, global structure alignment/value chain transformation, global tax provision and compliance reviews. She leads from the front to embrace new technology and has worked with many clients to support digital transformation.