What's behind the financial muscle from "Alpha Females"?
The Minneapolis-based firm Ginger Consulting offers up the goods (along with a new nickname) for powerful female consumers in its fourth annual “What Women Want” survey.
Ginger Consulting calls influential females “Alpha Women” and places them at the center of their latest survey, pointing out that the mass female consumer market should follow along the consumer spending trends set by those Alpha women cited in the study.
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The study notes Alpha females are “spending again, after years of tightening the purse strings and focusing on essential purchases.”
Over half (53%) of Alpha females tell researchers say they are planning a vacation or a “splurge” on new furniture, while another 25% say their personal financial situation has improved from 2011 to 2012.
What Ginger Consulting doesn’t say is what happened to the other 75%, whose financial situation presumably remained stable, grew moderately worse, or dropped off a cliff altogether.
The firm modeled its survey on the “influential, ahead of the curve” women who tend to be six months to two years ahead of the popular culture, and adds that overall, female consumers influence about 85% of all purchases made by both male and female consumers in the U.S.
If that’s true, then the real game-changer is that Alpha females are spending more on so-called luxuries, after years of benign neglect toward high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus or Bailey Banks and Biddle.
It’s a gradual financial climb, but an upward climb nonetheless.
“Last year, we saw Alpha women ready to add small accents back into their lives,” Ginger Consulting co-managing partner Beth Perro-Jarvis says. “They may have ‘splurged’ on decorative pillows to refresh their homes. This year, they are adding a couple zeros and buying a new sofa and some cocktail tables.”
That should lead the mass female consumer audience to the stores, auto dealerships, and restaurants, says co-managing director Mary Van Nolte.
“At the macroeconomic level, growth starts in manufacturing,” Van Note says. “But in the consumer space, spending starts with Alpha women. Where Alphas go, other women follow — and this is a great sign for consumer spending in the coming months.”
What exactly is Ginger seeing from those so-called Alpha females? Here’s a snapshot from the survey:
- What they’re buying – Alpha women are mostly adding luxuries like new apparel (38% of respondents); spas and massages (22%); and dining out (15%).
- Alphas choose smart phones over sex – The Ginger survey says 41% of Alphas would choose their smartphones over sex, morning coffee and make-up.
- Mother’s Day preferences – The men in their lives would do well to treat Alpha females like “queens for a day” on Mother’s Day this year. And something “sparkly” wouldn’t hurt either.
No matter what one takes away from a study like Ginger’s, that’s got to be good news for the economy.