Wake Up Consumer Electronics…You’re Ignoring Women

One fact that should continually resonate in the minds of brands and retailers every minute of every day is that women are responsible for roughly 70% of all purchasing in the retail and consumer products industries.  And, since about 70% of our GDP is driven by consumption, women should indeed, be the number-one shopping target.

The Robin ReportAnd, in one category, consumer electronics, I was made aware of the findings of a research project conducted by Cisco called “Retail Orchestration,” that not only are retailers missing a huge opportunity for women’s business, they could simultaneously beat the online sellers in the “showrooming” game, simply by shifting their focus from tech-savvy young college guys (who are into devices), to women (who are into content, and who want attention and education).
Steve Jobs and his team at Apple always understood this.  Today, you can observe moms and their kids in an Apple store, and you’ll notice a tiny table full of the kids banging away on iPads while their moms are taking their time shopping with sales associates. Apple gets that you have to keep the kids entertained so mom can look around, (and seek education).

Conversely, if you walk into a Best Buy, everything is geared towards the college and younger segment tech-savvy males, who, by the way, are also the biggest “showroomers.”

The Cisco Study

The Cisco web-based survey of 11oo respondents in the U.S. looked at the consumer market for consumer electronics, device ownership and digital content consumption and addressed the relationship between consumer confidence, knowledge and purchasing behavior. Key findings include:

  • Low Consumer Confidence on “how to use their devices” - Roughly one-third of today’s most active personal technology users don’t know how to use the products they purchase. They lack confidence in their ability to choose, operate, and connect today’s devices – and that’s even among the early adopters of the latest devices and digital content. Customers simply don’t have the knowledge to take full advantage of the devices’ capabilities.
  • Shocker! Women Surpass Men in Digital Content Consumption- As one would predict, the early adopter segment for consumer electronics is comprised largely of young affluent males. However, from a digital content consumption, the leaders in digital content consumption are women. They have the highest rate of digital content consumption such as Internet-based video, digital imagery, and social media.
  • Conquered Mars, Now Focus on Venus- Companies that sell consumer technology devices may be are singularly ill-equipped to maximize device sales, because their messaging (and where applicable, store-based presentation and demo content) is skewed to young male early adopters. With females noted as the leaders in digital content consumption, retailers need to rethink their marketing.
  • Accessory Overload Leads to More Confusion - More than 20% of the industry’s most active users seldom or never buy accessories, and more than 36% of that same group seldom or never buys go-with items. There is a clear correlation between a respondent’s confidence in using advanced device features, and how much they buy at retail.

So, a no-brainer might be that retailers can increase revenues by bridging the confidence and knowledge gap with “orchestration” services that include: aggregating all elements required to create a solution for device usage; assembling all the elements to complete a solution; and educating consumers about what’s available, what’s possible and how to put it all together.

And, women, with all of their power, should be a priority focus.

Robin Lewis About Robin Lewis

Robin Lewis has over forty years of strategic operating and consulting experience in the retail and related consumer products industries. He has held executive positions at DuPont, VF Corporation, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), and Goldman Sachs, among others, and has consulted for dozens of retail, consumer products and other companies. In addition to his role as CEO and Editorial Director of The Robin Report, he is a professor at the Graduate School of Professional Studies at The Fashion Institute of Technology.