January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment
New news. It used to be that 40% of women in married households were the primary breadwinner. Now, more than half of American women are the primary breadwinners in their households and many of them are worried about financial matters. Results from the Center for American Progress show that 63% of mothers were primary, sole or co-breadwinners for their families. Sounds like good news? Well, not so quick.
Sounds like good news? Well not so quick. The fact that women are bringing home a significant portion of their families’ incomes does not mean that there is gender parity in the workforce, nor does it mean that working parents and caregivers have the supports they need. Issues such as the gender wage gap and lack of policies such as universal paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and workplace flexibility still hold women back from reaching their full economic potential.
Families in the United States look different than they did a generation or two ago. Married couples today are less likely to have children than they were in the past, and single-parent households are also much more common. In 1974, a married couple headed 84% of all families with children, while in 2015, only about two-thirds, or 65.5%, of families with children were headed by a married couple. And from 1974 to 2015, the rate of families with children headed by a single mother nearly doubled—from 14.6% to 26.4%—while the rate of single fatherhood quadrupled from 1.4% to 8.1%.
February 10, 2016 § 1 Comment
Definitions of gender are becoming more blurred in today’s society as two-thirds of young adults say their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like.
In the past year, the Oxford Dictionary adopted the gender-neutral prefix Mx. and Seattle embraced gender-neutral public bathrooms, while Pantone singled out gender-neutral colors in its latest color-trend report. Transgender narratives are both in real life (Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox) and onscreen (Transparent, The Danish Girl). Culture has begun to shift away from binary notions of gender.
Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, is breaking down gender norms by sporting skirts for Louis Vuitton’s Spring womenswear collection. Louis Vuitton’s press release says Jaden “represents a generation that has assimilated the codes of true freedom; wearing a skirt comes as naturally to him as it would to a woman.”
Miley Cyrus has called herself gender fluid. She says “I didn’t want to be a boy. I kind of wanted to be nothing. I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate, it’s the box that I get put into.” Eddie Redmayne introduces us anew to the gender identification struggle of artist Einar Wegener in the movie The Danish Girl.
The 2013 Cassandra Gender report found that 60% of people between the ages of 14 and 34 think gender lines are blurred and nearly two-thirds of the group say their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like. The survey reveals that “gender is less of a definer of identity today than it was for prior generations. Rather than adhering to traditional gender roles, young people are interpreting what gender means to them personally.”
A January 2015 poll by media company Fusion found that among Americans aged 18–34, 50% believe gender exists on a spectrum, while just 46% believe there are only two genders.
What does it mean for marketers? Marketers can choose to acknowledge it and show this generation that they get it in their language and offerings.
Gender neutral, inclusive language has become more correct. People who do not identify as male or female prefer the pronoun “they,” rather than “he” or “she.” Rather than saying congressman, you would refer to a legislator. The “common man” becomes the average person. A policeman is now a police officer.
Unisex is a more prolific offering. Vivienne Westwood created a unisex collection for autumn/winter 2015–2016 as did Alexander Blanc, whose male and female models even swapped clothes on the runway during Cape Town Fashion Week in 2014. Harrods and Target groups toys by theme rather than male or female. Models like Elliott Sailors, Rain Dove, and Erika Linder are carrying out runway careers as menswear models.
Facebook now has 58 different gender descriptions including agender, androgyne, gender fluid, trans female, trans male, trans person, cisgender, and two-spirit . Some brands like Louis Vuitton are embracing transgender and androgynous models for their campaigns.
Even names are becoming less gender specific. Popular gender-neutral names in 2015 included Carson, Amari, Karter, Sawyer, River, Rory, and Phoenix.
November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Millennial foodies are the new “tastemakers”. What Millennials want in food today is what the rest of the world will soon be asking for. This savvy generation loves lots of informal celebrations, intense flavor profiles, ethnic cuisines, more natural foods and lots of snacks. Champagnes like Chandon are courting Millennials as an irreverent celebration alternative to their parents’ brands and are designing bottles to fit their occasions.
Restaurants are working hard to cater to millennials as their incomes and spending habits grow. Here are some important facts to understand.
- They eat out more often. 53% of the group goes out to eat once a week, compared with 43% for the general population. They eat out more often in all categories – quick serve, casual dining and fast casual. While they all eat fast food, millennials don’t want to admit to eating it. They are the least likely to recommend fast food to others. Fast casual is their favorite. Millennials compose 51% of fast casual customers.
- They want healthy food which means fresh, less processed and with fewer artificial ingredients.
- They want food that comes from socially responsible companies. Types of companies that they like include those who have principles around fair trade, sustainability and fair wages. Companies that exhibit these qualities include Starbucks and Chipolte.
- They like to support local restaurants. Again this means higher quality food, social ethics, ethnic foods and flavor profiles.
- They want convenience which translates to easy online ordering, stellar apps and rewards programs. Starbucks has scored big with their new app revamp for pick-up orders.
- Sriracha is on everything. It is stocked in 9% of American households and in 16% of those under 35.
- They celebrate a lot. According to CEB Iconoculture, Millennials are celebrating more than just the traditional holidays. Super Bowl Parties, May the 4th Be With You celebrations (for Star Wars fans), and single girls’ gatherings for Valentine’s Day are just a few ways Millennials are celebrating outside of traditional holidays.
- The line between snacks and meals is blurring. According to research by Barkley and BCG, Millennials tend to snack far more than older generations. It is very common for Millennials to regularly have snacks in the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night.
On the alcohol side of things, Chandon reports that 27 percent of adult millennials now choose beer as their favorite alcoholic drink and a lot of that beer is craft beer. But beer consumption is down from 33 percent in 2012, leaving room for other products including vodkas, wines and sparkling wines. Millennials like craft brands and made-for-me brands. Chandon has targeted Millennials with its “celebrate everyday” strategy, moving sparkling wines from only end of year special occasions to everyday occasions. Since Chandon is technically not Champagne since it is from Napa Valley, the wine has become Americanized. Chandon has been able to reimagine how sparkling wine can be consumed—and by whom. Chandon typically sells for a lower price point as well.
But price alone is not enough to lure young adults. They seek an experience. Chandon has given the classic champagne bottle a trendy makeover and creates seasonal designs for its bottles. Last year Chandon put out three limited-edition bottles that are scrawled with the phrases “The Party Starts Here,” “Bring on the Fun,” and “I am the After Party.” Ideally, consumers can pick out the bottle that matches their personality. Their marketing also matches this new look with a heavy dependence on social media using image heavy social platforms like Instagram.
“Any marketer will tell you that it is very difficult to change consumer behavior,” Cristian Yanez, VP of Estate and Wines at Moet Hennessy USA, Chandon’s parent company says. “But with sparkling wine, we’ve found that a simple approach works best. I know it sounds a bit basic, but just giving people another excuse to drink a bottle of sparkling wine is sometimes all we need to do.”
July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
What happened to fashion’s love affair with youth? Are we finally acknowledging the beauty of older women? There seems to be a new attitude towards style at any age. Cher is the latest in a string of new celebrity endorsers for brands like Marc Jacobs that include interesting older women in their ads like 93-year-old Iris Apfel, 69-year-old Helen Mirren, 65-year-old Jessica Lange, and 63-year-old Angelica Huston. It seems that brands are embracing the buying power of older women.
Kate Spade featured 93-year-old legend Iris Apfel in her recent fashion campaign. Fashion house Celine launched a flare with their Spring 2015 campaign using 80-year old author Joan Didion. Helen Mirren, 69, and Twiggy, 65, are brand ambassadors for L’Oreal. Catherine Deneuve, 71, models for Louis Vuitton, Jessica Lange, 65, for Marc Jacobs and Angelica Huston, 63, for Gap.
Millennials seem to have a fascination not only with vintage clothes but with the older woman and her style. My daughter introduced me to the blog and documentary Advanced Style that has become a bit of a phenom among younger women. The work focuses on sartorially adventurous women who are fashion plates of a certain age.
Why are major brands betting on these faces? There is a universal acknowledgement that wealthier older women are more likely to purchase high-end goods. Just like Baby Boomers have changed culture at every age, they continue to have an impact as they enter their older years. Baby boomers control more than 80% of all financial assets and account for as much as 60% of consumer spending. Brands are embracing the buying power of older women. Consumers of a certain age like to see the “best” of their generation and aspire to look as good as Helen Mirren or Jessica Lange.
The 55+ set have their place in all types of shopping including the television shopping channels. Iris Apfel has her own line of jewelry on HSN, Iman has her unique fashion line on HSN and Joan Rivers, even after death, continues to have a presence on QVC. Not surprising, HSN reports their average buyer is someone who knows what she wants. A lot of the women who are frequenting these television retailers are professional women, buying while they’re at work, browsing online at the office. QVC and HSN shoppers are more affluent consumers, and they are also repeat buyers. Most of them buy about ten times a year, so they’re loyal. Our postman told my husband that once a QVC package lands on a doorstep, there are many to follow.
While brands may not exclusively rely on older style mavens, some reported they are instituting a multi-generational approach, while they also embrace a multi-size approach.
Age seems to be relative these days. It’s more about how we feel than our chronological age. Maybe we are now accepting age as a sign of confidence and self-assuredness. It is a good thing to have matured into an interesting and beautiful being.
December 16, 2014 § 1 Comment
There is a new study reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy identifying a rising group of charitable donors. The study finds “Millennial and Generation X women who are single and unaffiliated with a religion give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than their older, similarly secular counterparts, according to the report, which looked exclusively at unmarried donors. Their giving also doubles that of peers who have loose ties to a religion.”
For many years, it has been reported that people of faith gave more than unchurched individuals, so this report indicates that intensity of faith may not be as strong an indicator of giving as previously thought.
It seems that young single women may be bucking the trend, but there may be other factors at play as well. Young single women may represent a growing group of highly educated, high income women who have decided to defer marriage. This group of Single Indies represent some 28 million women, or one out of three adult women, who spend around $1 trillion each year. They may have more disposable income and be predisposed to charitable interests.
The report also cites that one-third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation.
Clearly, for non-profits, this group of younger women represent an opportunity for both giving and volunteer activities. Marketing should recognize and speak to this power group.