February 24, 2013 § Leave a Comment
One of the lingering effects of the “new normal” is the growth in breadwinner wives. From 2007 to 2011, women’s contribution to household income grew from 44% to 47%. And in some 40% of marriages, the women are the highest wage earners.
“This past recession caused women’s share of earnings to rise even more significantly, with the largest single year increase,” said Kristin Smith, a family demographer at the Carsey Institute and a research assistant professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
The trend is strongest among couples where the husband has a lower level of education. Women married to men with a high school degree or less contributed 51% of total family earnings in 2011; those married to men with a college degree contributed 42%.
Men dominated jobs suffered the most in the past recession. From December 2007 to January 2010, America lost 8.7 million jobs, with male-dominated industries, such as construction and manufacturing, suffering the most. Unemployment peaked in October 2009, at 10%, with men’s unemployment at 11.2% and women’s at 8.7%.
As the economy improves, women will tend to stay in their job roles. Many households lost ground in savings, housing values and retirement accounts.
Other gender-related shifts that have taken place in recent years: Colleges are graduating more women than men; women under 30 earn more than their male counterparts in most of America’s largest cities; and women now comprise about half of the workforce.
An unintended cultural effect was found in a 2010 study by Western Washington University where researchers found that when a woman’s contribution to household income tops 60 percent, the couple is more likely to divorce. However, this cultural shift may balance out as the new generation starts their households. The vast majority of young people – about 80% of women and 70% of men across all races, classes, and family backgrounds — desire an egalitarian marriage in which both partners share breadwinning, housekeeping, and child rearing. The data come from Kathleen Gerson‘s fabulous 2010 book, The Unfinished Revolution.
Marketers should be alert to how women are portrayed in advertising because of this new normal. Old stereotypes will not serve a brand well, particularly if women are the primary target.
January 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Okay, we are the Lipstick Economy, but a little girly news about nail polish won’t hurt anyone. While expanding lipstick sales have been traditionally linked with recessionary periods, nail polish is the new indicator for the 21st Century. According to WWD, polish sales reached $768 million in 2012 in the U.S., which is a gain of 32% over 2011. WWD reports on a survey that claims that 33% of women in the States have at least 25 bottles of polish in their homes.
Why the booming sales? I think we all know why. There are all the colors of the rainbow now available in polish. Gel nails are all the rage and have recently been introduced as home kits. Nail art and decals are part of the personal nail expression. And polishes come in all types of finishes – cracked, sand, matte, high gloss and more.
Nail polish is all about personal expression. And it fits all sizes and ages. It’s also an inexpensive way to follow trends without too much risk. I often see grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters all in a nail salon together discussing the merits of Cajun Shrimp or My Chihuahua Bites. Oh, and the names are part of the experience. It’s cheap fun that lifts your spirits.
OPI always has wacky names and seasonal destination collections that give you and your toes a quick vacation just by polishing. Now that’s a group that understands its brand and its personality. The names are so fun that I hear women talking about them all the time and talking about their favorites. Names like Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie and Lincoln Park After Dark.
Evidently nail art has been big in hipster places like Japan for quite a while. Here in the United States, it’s a small luxury with a big return. After all, we can only see our lipstick when we look in a mirror or see the smudge on our coffee mug, but we see our hands all the time.
Fast Company reports that women are not the only ones that want a little fun. Seems men are getting into the nail obsession. Josh Espley is CEO of Blakk Cosmetics, whose first product,Alphanail, is being billed as “war paint for your fingernails.” (It’s nail polish, but for dudes.)
December 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Women on average make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. If the gender wage gap were closed and women were paid equitably, it could have unbelievable impact to our economy. This fact should not be too surprising to marketers. The robust economy that we enjoyed from the 1970s through 2000s was fueled by the two-income household which allowed for time-saving appliances, two cars, vacations, larger homes and higher education.
Today, we need a different boost because of the large number of working women. Women are now half of all workers on U.S payrolls, two-thirds of mothers are bringing home at least a quarter of the family’s earnings, and 4 in 10 mothers are either the sole breadwinner (a single, working mother) or are bringing home as much or more than their spouse.
Economist Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, estimates that the stimulus effect of wage equality would grow the U.S. economy by at least three to four percentage points. By comparison, the $800 billion economic stimulus package that Congress passed in 2009 to bail banks out of the recession is estimated to have grown the GDP by less than 1.5 percent overall. The growth estimate gets larger if you consider how many women would be drawn into the workforce is wages were increased.
Oh, and don’t forget. Women are more likely to stimulate the economy by spending the additional money we receive. Because women are the chief purchasing officer for their families.
For more information on the gender wage gap, here’s a great infographic created by LearnStuff.com:
December 1, 2012 § Leave a Comment
According to the 2012 CMO Survey by the American Marketing Association and Duke University, marketing has been a star rebounder in the recovery. In fact, marketing departments have almost tripled since August 2011.
Because of these many new roles in marketing, the desire has been to have in-house resources for jobs like community managers, customer experience officers, social media directors, analytics and internal communications officers. These jobs require the ability to have intimate knowledge of the brands and be flexible. Inbound marketing has become a real strategy for many marketers that did not even know it existed a few years ago.
Where is your marketing department in this revolution? Are you adding people?
November 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Who was the winner in the election? Evidently women were! For the first time in history, the nation elected twenty women to the US Senate, including the first Asian-American woman. In spite of the gains on Tuesday night, we might still want something else – a female president. Before the end of President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, Hillary2016 was trending on Twitter. But what are Moms concerned about post-election? Take a look.
Thanks to Zeno.com, for a post-election snapshot of the mood of moms taken:
- Mood of Mom: Nervous (34%), happy (27%) and indifferent (14%) are how moms categorized their feeling, post-election. One message that topped the list is that moms are relieved that Election 2012 is over.
- Moms Take Issue: Concerns about the economy (61%), jobs (19%) and healthcare (13%) topped moms’ list as the single most important issues facing the country into 2013. However, nearly 3 in 5 moms report that the election will unlikely impact their confidence that their family’s healthcare needs will be met.
- TV Ranked Supreme: Even though election night was the biggest event in Twitter history with a record setting 20 million tweets, moms reported tuning in to television (76%) and traditional news sources to get election news throughout the season.
- Good Morning, Madame President: Could the Clintons return to the White House? 87 percent of those surveyed expect to see a female President during their lifetime. Hillary Clinton topped the list as the most likely candidate to grace the Oval Office.
- It’s Looking Good, Girl: 45% of moms with daughters report that they’re more optimistic about their daughters’ future today than before the election. Only 12% of moms with girls are feeling more pessimistic.
August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
As I sit here pondering the relative merits of having green nail polish on my nails, I happened across this interesting new tidbit of information from our Great Recession. It seems that nail polish sales soared in 2010, up 13.7 percent over the prior year. Could it be that the Lipstick Index has become the Nail Polish Index?
In 2009, in the midst of the recession, lipstick sales actually declined, while nail polish sales soared. Why is that? Some beauty experts point to a multitude of new product launches, a shift from salon visits to at-home applications and the explosion of new colors on the scene. And it seems that we are buying more of our beauty products in mass merchants, discount stores and through direct sales. Fashion houses have made nail polish couture as well, with knock-offs available at your local Walgreen’s.
Take Katie Dunham, a millennial fashionista, as an example. She has so many bargain nail polishes in every color from purple to green, she needed a professional lucite display to hold them all. A $5 polish is a quick way to boost your spirits and add some fun to outfit.
A competitive jobs market also seems to have brought the need for a professional appearance back into focus. Having well-groomed nails plays a role in projecting a positive image to others. A London study showed three-quarters of women and half of men believe chipped or bitten nails create a bad overall impression.
A historical note on nail polish: It was developed during the Great Depression when women would only wear a faint, translucent pink polish in a “moon manicure” that left the tips of your nail and the nail “moon” unpolished while the middle had a bit of glimmer. Fast forward a couple of years and the Washing Post reported “When the depression struck America, the women’s finger-nails were the first things to go in the red.”
What’s the marketing message? Innovation (think green, yellow, blue and crackled polish), low prices and little luxuries that lift our spirits are more resilient in times of economic downturns. Turns out, we like our lipsticks in pinks and reds, not offering the chance to expand the category. Also, it seems that Revlon went out on limb and spent his entire advertising budget ($335.36) for an ad in The New Yorker to boost sales for his fledgling product. New products need an appropriate media push to succeed.
What are some of the new colors for Fall 2011: Sapphire, copper, grey and iridescent green!
February 16, 2011 § 2 Comments
What’s in your pantry? Is it bloated or on a diet?
One of the lasting behaviors of the Great Recession may be “just in time shopping”. I was thinking about Spring shopping the other day, and how we had to rush out in the middle of winter to ensure that we got the latest fashions for Spring. And how I had to have two or three stockpiled items of essentials in my pantry. But the recession has reshaped how consumers and how retailers think.
Wall Street Journal called it “The Just-in-Time Consumer”. Taking a page from Wal-Mart logistics, it seems that women are buying closer to the real need, buying smaller units and refusing to buy in bulk when we don’t need it. So, what that means is that name brand are seeing that consumers are only buying what they need for a specific period of time. Gone are the days when my pantry might have six jars of mayo because I always buy several out of fear of running out. Part of the reason for this new conservative mindset is the unemployment, loss of home values and plunging 401Ks that made many of us experience a new thrift mindset.
According to IRI data, the number of items kept in American pantries has fallen about 20%. P&G estimates that one-third of consumers have changed their pantry loading habits. And the club stores like Costco are responding with smaller sizes of products.
- Immediate: low-value, instant -need driven baskets with an average basket ring of $15 per trip
- Fill-In: slightly higher value baskets averaging $51 per trip
- Routine: weekly, high-value shopping trips averaging $98 per trip
- Stock-up: large trips averaging $242 per trip
Some 82% of our shopping trips fall into the small or “immediate need” category. Larger basket trips are more important for the affluent, but smaller trips are important to all income groups. Each of these trips is different in importance to each retail channel, as reported by Nielsen:
- Grocery – Immediate trips fell in importance by almost one percent as the channel saw minor gains in fill-in, routine and stock-up trips.
- Supercenters – Immediate and fill-in trips have gained in importance over the past two years, while routine and stock-up trips declined.
- Mass merchandisers (excluding supercenters) – Fill-in trips showed slight gains, while all other trip types posted minor declines.
- Drug – Fill-in and routine trips were up, while immediate trips declined.
- Warehouse Club – There was an up-tick in immediate trips, but the staple of club stores – routine and stock-up trips declined.
- Convenience/gas – Immediate trips – the hallmark of this channel – have declined by more than two percent, most likely due to rising gas prices.
- Dollar – Basket size increased, but the immediate trip type continued to dominate.
One of the phenomena of the recession is how affluents are shopping. Dollar stores have seen an uptick in affluent shopping. It seems that everyone is value conscious now.
And the fashion world has begun to adjust as well, assuring folks like me that they will have Spring fashions when Spring has actually has sprung, and swimsuits will still be in the store in summer.
December 28, 2010 § 5 Comments
The holidays are over and 2010 has been a rocky recovery year. What was on our minds this year? Here’s the 2010 Top Ten Posts from The Lipstick Economy. Thanks to all of you who read us regularly, and thanks for the many comments. Happy New Year to You All!
1. Marketing to Women: Groupon or Groupoff? 10 Facts You Need to Know. Yes, this was the most read blog post this year. Groupon came on the scene like gangbusters this year. Part advertising, part social, part brilliant. Just when prognosticators said that email was dead, a little marketing tool that allowed small marketers to have a big direct method of communicating. Yes, Groupon comes with good and bad news. Even Google courted Groupon this year, but the engagement never produced nuptials.
2. Marketing to Moms: Smartphones are Mom’s Best Friend. Back in April, we talked about how smartphones are the smart tools that Moms need to manage their lives. No secret that smartphones have continued to be a connector, a shopping tool and a life manager. Oh, and you can use them to call people too!
3. WhyMomsRule.com Poll: Moms Won’t Deprive Family of Vacation This Year. This early sign that families were tired of staying home was an early prognosticator of the economy slowly improving. We are all smarter and more frugal shoppers, but we won’t continue to deprive our families of a little fun. Seems that family travel was the fastest growing rate of all sectors of leisure travel in 2010.
4. Marketing to Moms: What Women Want in Healthcare Healthcare was certainly on everyone’s mind this year as the whole country struggled with defining health care reform. Here is a simple list of what women want in healthcare – personalized attention, access and the same technological benefits that we get from our major retailers.
5. What Do Women Want? – the iPhone or the Android This was the year that the iPhone finally got some competition. And I actually know people who have ditched their AT&T plans to follow their bliss with Verizon and a Droid. Yes, I live in a divided household. My husband and son are Droids – sounds like Celtic tree worshippers, doesn’t it? My daughter is a die-hard Blackberry Crackhead. And there is moi – the iPhone lovin’ mama who can’t imagine anything else. But seems that 2010 was the year of the Android. The Android OS dates back to 2007, but it only held about 5 percent of the global market for smartphones at the end of 2009. As of October 2010, according to comScore, that share had surged to nearly 25 percent, and it’s surely grown since.
6. Marketing to Moms: Don’t Forget Hispanic Moms How can we forget them? One in six of every U.S. resident is Hispanic. They are the second largest consumer group. And they are not just one big amorphous group. Many are more comfortable with English even though they identify with the Hispanic culture. So much for marketers to learn about these large, more traditional families.
7. Marketing to Moms: Daily Deals for Moms Wow, this is the year of group buying sites. Here is the story of some friends who are doing the group buying site right so that both consumers and retailers benefit. And of course, the reason they understand the market so well is because they are Moms too.
8. Mobile Web Browsing: iPhone v. Android The battle continues with Android now taking up a 25 percent share of total mobile web consumption in the US, according to Quantcast. Apple’s iOS is seeing its share decline from 67% in May 2009 to 56% in August 2010. But the real note here for marketers is that mobile web browsing in increasing by leaps and bounds. If you are not optimized for mobile and have a mobile strategy, shame on you.
9. Marketing to Moms: A Just Cause Moms just like brands that want to to good things, that want to help others, who have an altruistic mindset. As we have seen, the power of brands like Tide and Toms to bring good to others is an ever more important aspect of marketing. In our post, Marketing to Moms: Women Have Power to Help, we focused on embedded generosity and the fact that a healthy 53% of Americans will choose a company that allows the consumer to impact donations by tying it to a purchase.
10. Smartphone Women: Shopping With The Rich and Mobile Are the rich like you and me? Well, they probably are, but they certainly have all the latest technology and adapt to its use faster than the general consumer. That’s why they are the first to use those fancy smartphones as a shopping tool. During the holidays, we have seen that smartphones have become our biggest holiday helper, Marketing to Moms: 6 Ways the Smartphone Will Be Ms. Santa’s Little Helper.
I find it interesting that the most read blogs all deal with strategic shopping, smartphone adoption and some of the biggest issues of the year – healthcare, Hispanic assimilation and families working their way out of the recession.
For the future, I wish you a prosperous and healthy New Decade filled with smart and savvy ways to reach America’s number one consumer group.