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Women are an emerging global consumer group as their participation in the workplace increases and their disposable incomes rise. Globally, over 2000-2017 female disposable income increased by 37% in real terms, faster than the 34% rise in male disposable income. Moreover, it is estimated that the employed female population will increase globally 14% in the period 2017-2030.
The rise of the “She-conomy” is affecting many consumer industries and areas of society, consumer appliances included. The major impact is being experienced at domestic level due to the traditional central role of women in the home environment.
The roles within the family are evolving, and with that, the relationship between women and home appliances. More women are choosing to live alone, resulting in a larger number of households and thus the requirement to purchase appliances for these homes. Additionally, couples are having fewer children and families are getting smaller. This is often correlated with higher purchasing power and an increased ability to spend more on consumer appliances.
As women spend more time on work and education, time-saving and multifunctional appliances will benefit. This will have a positive effect on appliances which combine two or more functions. Manufacturers have started to launch appliances which are able to complete more than one task simultaneously to reduce the time spent on housework. Two examples are LG TwinWash, which can wash two loads at the same time, and Grundig Divide-and-Cook oven which can cook two meal at once. Female consumers will also be attracted by connected and smart appliances that help make cooking, cleaning and washing easier and quicker.
Male and female approaches to the consumption of appliances are different. While men are more likely to purchase online, women prefer to shop directly in-store. Online consumer appliances channels are currently mainly supported by men, as they show a clear preference for avoiding stores. As more women experiment with shopping for appliances online, it is expected that the impact of females on internet retailing will be more relevant.
An omni-channel approach will become essential for retailers to maintain a strong relationship with customers in the consumer appliances industry.
Traditionally considered a female-orientated industry, consumer appliances is evolving. Gender roles are blurring and technological innovation is helping make the industry more appealing to different types of customers, young males in particular.
Manufacturers have started offering appliances with a “male aesthetic”. Samsung’s robotic vacuum cleaner, PowerBot, for example released a Star Wars edition. Technological innovation is still considered a “masculine” subject. However, female participation in STEM studies and jobs is increasing globally. As women become more involved with technology, it is expected that smart/connected appliances will benefit further, leading to a consumer appliances industry which is fully gender-neutral.
To learn more ab out how these changes are affecting traditional female lifestyles and the impacts on consumer appliances, view the report ‘Female Lifestyle Change and Its Impact on Consumer Appliances’.