Plus Size Fashion Continues to Grow

November 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

SHEVA-Ashley-TiptonIt’s no secret that the average American woman is a size 14. And it seems that American fashion is beginning to take note.

Several things have happened recently to amp up the plus size movement.  Project Runway celebrated its first plus size fashion designer win last week.  Ashley Tipton is only the second designer on the show who has specialized in plus sizes.  Her unique collection celebrated her Mexican heritage, a nod to Frida Kahlo and a fashion forward plus look.  Recently Melissa McCarthy launched her own clothing line which is carried at retailers like Nordstrom’s and shopping network HSN.

According to market research firm NPD group, sales of plus-size clothes grew five percent in 2014, making it a $17.5 billion industry.  What’s more the study defined ‘plus-size’ as U.S. size 18 and up, whereas in the fashion industry it starts at size 14, meaning the growth may well have been significantly larger.

Over the past two years, plus-size sales within the e-commerce category have grown 31%.  Online shopping seems to take a larger share of plus size shopping. Even traditional retailers have more plus size options online.

The Opportunity


Most plus-size women feel that their body size is not sufficiently represented in fashion and retail.  A recent study from ModCloth found that 46% of plus-size women ‘never or rarely’ find clothing that flatters their body.
The online retailer surveyed more than 1,500 women to determine how they feel about the current state of the plus-size market.  They found that most women are dissatisfied. Some 81%  said they would spend more on clothing if there were more options available in their size.


Marketing to Working Moms: New Scarborough Study!

January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person.  They are more educated,  more affluent and more wired than ever before.  Working Moms represent 40% of moms.

Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.   For more, see the infographic below.

95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority

27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.  

72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.

Working moms are spending less for name brands.  They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  

Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.

Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.


Marketing to Women: Cheerios Win! Racists Lose!

June 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Have you seen the new Cheerios spot?  The one with the adorable little girl who is part of an interracial family?  The spot drew the attention of YouTube racists who flooded the YouTube channel with comments not in step with most of the country.

Americans like the ad. In fact, according to data from Ace Metrix, “Good for Your Heart” (called “Just Checking” on YouTube) tested the highest of six new Cheerios ads this year and garnered attention and likeability scores 9% and 11% “above the current 90-day norm for cereals.”  The ad, created by Saatchi & Saatchi,  “appealed to all age/gender demographics with the exception of males over 50.” Don’t worry, that’s not a racism issue.  It seems that ads with babies tend to perform poorly with this demographic regardless of the race of the child.

In fact, if you look on the YouTube channel now, there have been 46,172 like the ad, while only 2,171 disliked it.

Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, told, “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”

And let’s face it, General Mills is not trying to make a societal statement.  They are just reflecting the diversity of America.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. households that included interracial or “interethnic opposite-sex married couples” grew by 28 percent between 2000 and 2010 and now stand at 10 percent of all married couples.  Among infants younger than 1, there are 17 mixed-race children for every 100 infants whose parents said they are black alone. A decade ago, there were nine.

More than half of US babies born last year were non-white.  

And while we are still trying to figure if we are black or white, or both, white is a diminishing color.  Yes, we have crossed the tipping point.   The Census Bureau says that for the first time, most babies born in the U.S last year were non-white.  Among young people today, diversity is so prevalent that one hopes that racism will quietly recede.  Minorities increased 1.9 per cent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 per cent of the total U.S. population, lifted by prior waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.  The growth in the US has stalled some during the recession, but we can certainly look forward to a day when the minorities become majorities in the US.


Marketing to Women: The Overlooked “Breadwinner Women”

October 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Breadwinner Women

Stereotypes are hard to break.  We all harbor old stereotypes about nuclear families that are not true in today’s society. One is about breadwinners.  The majority of all American women (53%) are now breadwinners in their households, according to a survey conducted by Prudential Financial.  Among the 1400 women surveyed, 40% are single and 22% of married women earn higher incomes than their spouse/partner.

Some of the traits of breadwinner women are –

•  Women are more collaborative in decision making.

•  Women are focused on household expenses.

•  Women are concerned about taking care of others first and not being a financial burden to loved ones.

Think a minute about your customer base.  You probably have many “breadwinner women” in the ranks.  I personally know many of these strong, successful women.  Thanks to the fabulous Bridget Brennan and her blog on Forbes, here are three important reminders on how to appeal to “breadwinner women” and one more from me!

1.  Invest in Customer Service.  Women have higher expectations of customer service than men do and are willing to walk when they are not treated with the appropriate attention or service they deserve.  Just one example – For years, women have been taking a “token” man to car lots and mechanics to ensure they get the best deal.  But they won’t much longer.  Sales training should include a long look into who is making the purchase decisions for a wide variety of purchases.  Currently women have 80% of the purchase decision power on buying the family car.  Women also make 62 percent of new car purchases and have over $5 trillion in purchasing power. And when the car breaks down, women make 65 to 80 percent of the service and maintenance decisions.

2.  Provide convenience in-store and online.  Women are multi-taskers and their time is limited.  They expect retailers to offer multi-channel solutions.  They expect physicians to be open after five and on weekends when children really get sick.  They expect everyone to have easy-to-use websites that are easy-to-view on all mobile and laptop.  They want services personalized and customized to their needs.

3.   Provide a helpful experience.  Women buy more than just a product.  They buy a service.  Women love Nordstrom’s not just for the beautiful shoes, but also for free shipping and free returns that puts them in charge.  Women love Lexus because they also care about roadside service, giving you a loaner and making sure your car is washed and clean inside and out when it comes back.

4.  Provide help in making decisions.   Women like to gather information and collaborate on decisions.  That’s why providing a steady stream of information is important in the healthcare setting.  And it’s why 9 out of 10 women seek online health info.  It’s why women want to understand financial products before making a decision on them. It’s why women spend time on blogs, message boards and product fan pages to research products and get firsthand product reviews and recommendations.

Marketing to Women on Smartphones: That’s 50.9% of us!

May 10, 2012 § 3 Comments

Smartphones have crossed the tipping point.  According to Nielsen, a majority (50.4%) of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones, up from 47.8 percent in December 2011.  And of course women over index the national stat – 50.9 percent of female mobile subscribers carried smartphones in March 2012, compared to 50.1 percent for men.

Shop till we drop our phoneSo, is it any surprise that we are using those oh-so-smart mobile devices for shopping?  Of course not. Seventy-nine percent of us are using our smartphones for shopping.

Smartphones are really the mobile shoppers dream for  the following:  “Locating a store” (73% vs. 42% for tablets ), “using a shopping list while shopping” (42% vs. 16% for tablets) or “redeeming a mobile coupon” (36% vs. 11% for tablet owners).   However, tablet owners are much more likely to use their device for online shopping: 42 percent of tablet owners have “used their device to purchase an item,” compared to just 29 percent of smartphone owners.

For marketers, it is important to understand how our target is using a mobile device so we can tailor messages and design appropriate engagement opportunities.

Pay As You Go  Currently we are buying online, but Nielsen points out that soon we will become comfortable with using our smartphones to make payments for items.  I can’t wait. ” Just one less thing to worry about,” says Forrest Gump.

Marketing to Women: A Gadget for Each Generation

July 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

Just read an interesting study from media research firm Affinity that suggests that each generation has its favorite gadget. Their findings suggest that e-readers are for baby boomers, PC tablets for Gen Xers and smartphones for millennials.

Baby Boomer:  Surveying more than 60,000 consumers, Affinity found that 12 percent of U. S. adults own an e-reader, with owners of the readers skewing female and baby boomer.   The e-reader is mostly an at-home device.

Gen X:  The Gen-Xers are 16% more likely to have a tablet and almost a fourth of them plan to purchase one.  This compares with the current 8% of consumers that currently own a tablet.  With tablets, men are more likely to be owner than women.  Affluent Gen-Xers are 63% more likely to buy a table than their peers.

Millennials:  Smartphones are the device of choice for millennials who are 28% more likely to own a smartphone than average.  After all, these millennials do not have a land line and depend on their smartphone for almost everything.

But there is another category that this study overlooked:  it’s the crazed Apple lover Mom of all generations that has an iPhone, a MacBook, and iPad – and wonders why anyone would ever want a Kindle. (Confession:  I fall into that category)  These are the folks that are hooked on entertainment, the cool factor, convenience and integration, and the beautiful design of Apple products.  According to NPD, the number of moms who purchased iPhones grew 132 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over sales recorded during the same time last year.

Marketing to Women: One Influential Woman Has A Circle of 170 Friends

May 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have always been interested in the size of a women’s circle of friends because that’s where real word of mouth begins.  The number of friends we really interact with has something to do with our brains and the functional ability to socially interact with them.

Dunbar established an average of 150 as the number of stable relationships we can maintain.

Malcolm Gladwell talked about Dunbar’s number in The Tipping Point to describe the dynamics of a social network.  Dunbar’s number, created by anthropologist Robin Dunbar,  is the theoretical number of people with whom we can maintain social relationships, a number that ranges from 100 to 230, but is generally considered to be 150.  Of course, his research was based  on primates who didn’t have access to Facebook!

So, I read with real interest, a new study by PR firm Marina Maher Communications and word-of-mouth-tracking firm Keller Fay Group. The study of more than 2,000 women identified a group of 12% of those surveyed who have greater influence on the purchase decisions of others.  The study dubbed this group “Influence-Hers”.  It seems that “Influence-Hers” have considerably larger social networks — both online and offline — totaling on average about 170 people they interact with regularly, compared with 75 for a typical woman, said Marina Maher Managing Director Keith Hughes.

Social Media “Influence-Hers”

The majority (76%) of these “Influence-Hers” are involved in some type of social media (go figure!).  And these same “highly connected” women also tend to be more actively engaged with brands.  The study found Influence-Hers are 38% more likely than typical women to “like” brands on Facebook or to provide personal information to brands they like on Facebook. They are also happy to praise or criticize those brands:  105% more likely to post positive experiences and 125% more likely to post negative experiences about brands online.

The Power of the Consumer Review

These highly connected are not only influencing others; they too are influenced by brands they trust, endorsers and celebrities.  Some 83% rely on expert reviews very or fairly often; 84% rely on consumer reviews to make purchase decisions; 42% say they’re relying more in the past few years on expert reviews; and 59% are relying more on the reviews of other consumers to make decisions.  Research shows they can be as much as 90% more likely, depending on the category, to value the input of endorsers than other women.

So for us recovering ad execs, here’s the bottom line.  Expert and peer reviews are creating more of an impact on consumers than editorial and advertising.  One in eight women are key influencers for your brand, and 100 of those translates to 17.000 touchpoints.  We must engage those women and listen to them.  Because for smart, highly connected women with smartphones, that information is just a click away.

So, Dunbar, that’s not exactly monkey business, is it?

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The New Lipstick Economy: One-in-five Moms Have Kids With Multiple Dads

May 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

I live in Nashville, Tennessee where recent Census data shows only one in three homes are composed of married couples.  In fact, marriage rates have been declining for some time.  Nationally, the marriage rate dropped 14 percent from 1998 to 2008.  And in the wake of these shrinking marriage facts is a growing population of  one in five single Moms with children from different birth fathers.  Or as some of the students at a non-profit program where I volunteer would say:  Kids with different baby daddys!

The study from Cassandra Dorius, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, found that women with children from multiple fathers tend to be disadvantaged compared with other moms, with problems of underemployment, lower incomes and less education.  It also seems that this type of household is under more stress because of the juggling and interaction with more than one dad, sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles. Not all are children born out of wedlock; forty-three percent of the women with children with multiple dads were married when their first babieswere born.

This multiple-father type family is more common among minority women, with 59 percent of African-American mothers, 35 percent of Hispanic mothers and 22 percent of white mothers reporting children with more than one father.

I agree with one writer that there are never studies on the men.  Where is the study on Baby Daddies With More than One Child by Different Moms?  Now that’s the report that I really want to read.

I often talk with my friends at the non-profit organization CWJC , and I see their struggles with raising these multiple father children.  We pray constantly for cars that will make it one more week, more convenient bus routes, housing needs, food needs and jobs.  The recession has decreased the number of even minimum wage jobs these women can qualify for. These women are not lazy – they get up before dawn to shuttle kids to school, ride buses to work and struggle to keep their children in clothes and food.  They want better jobs, more education and a better future for their children.

What is the answer?  The haves and have-nots gap seems to be growing, and what was once considered non-traditional is the norm.   More research shows that many educated women are waiting later to be married and deferring childbirth to later in life, or not at all.  These women are spending time on education and careers before settling down.

The message for marketers is that Moms come with a lot of needs and stressors that are not reflected in the nuclear family of the 50’s Father Knows Best.  It’s a new day and marketers need to understand what these single Moms are going through.


Marketing to Women: 51%. Just a number? Read on.

April 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

I just ran across a fabulous community of bloggers on that focuses on the 51%.  Who are the 51%?  They are the professional and entrepreneurial women, who make up 51% of the workforce and own 51% of small businesses.

That lead me to thinking about some other majorities.  Here’s some other 51 percents that will rock your boat!

51% of the population are women.

51% of women are living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000, according to census records.  Why?  At one end of the age spectrum, women are marrying later or living with unmarried partners more often and for longer periods. At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom.

51% of women would give up sex for a year to have a skinny body.  Yes, sad but true, we would.

51% of women would rather stay at home and clean the house than spend time with their mother-in-law.

51% prefer The Lipstick Economy.  I made that up, but what’s your 51%.



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