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What Women Really Want

Dec 20, 2007
Are diamonds still a girl's best friend? Contrary to that antiquated belief, a research study released in 2006 reveals that more than three out of four women said a new plasma TV trumps a diamond solitaire necklace. The study conducted by market research TRU for the Oxygen Network is cleverly titled Girls Gone Wired and has helped marketers gain insight into women and technology.

Given the fact that women represent roughly half the U.S. population and influence more than 73% of all purchases in the consumer electronic category, they remain a largely underserved market. There have been misconceptions that women are not technologically savvy or knowledgeable as men. In recent years, solid research has been able to debunk those beliefs and open the eyes of the consumer electronics industry. Oxygen's research study found that both men and women spend a majority of their waking hours interfaced with technology, with women spending 15 hours per day and men spending 17. Both women and men rely most heavily on their computers and cell phones. Roughly the same amount of men and women said they use their cell phones weekly, but 73% of women said they use their computers weekly compared to 71% of men.

Oxygen's study also offers research that shows businesses how they should market technology to women:

Don't talk down to women about technology: 79% of women feel comfortable using technology and are not afraid of it. Sugar-coating tech language and using 'female friendly' colors won't necessarily do the trick. Women view quality and technology itself more importantly than style.

Women prefer a hands-on approach to technology: 72% of women prefer playing with the device in order to learn how it works. Set up interactive tradeshow displays so participants can experience the product for themselves. This helps spark curiosity and encourages inquiry.

Technology is the problem-solver: Women look for the lifestyle benefits that come from technology and tend to purchase consumer electronics based on their practicality. The majority says that tech products are essential to helping them organize their busy school, work and social schedules. Portray products and services as the remedy to a problem.

Presents that impress: Whether a gift is for a sister, mom or girlfriend, nothing tops the list like technology. Remember that diamond necklace? That and other luxury items such as designer shoes and handbags are getting pushed aside to make room for plasma TVs, top-of-the-line cell phones, digital cameras and iPods. 83% of women said they get excited about receiving new tech items and over a third would buy tech items for themselves.

Women are power users of tech tools and toys, and no business should miss the opportunity to cater its product and promotional message to these women. A good example is Kolobags, an online boutique for "technology fashion" that offers designer laptop bags and technology accessories that don't compromise style. Part of its success is derived from women's growing demand for technology that fit their needs and taste. It is becoming pretty obvious that technology is no longer just a "guy thing."
About the Author
Thanh Do is a student in the William Allen White school of jounalism at the University of Kansas. She is also a member of Absorbent, Ink.'s marketing team. Absorbent, Ink: Promotional Products
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