Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ford Recognizes the Purchasing Power of Women

Understanding what women want when it comes to vehicles, and giving it to them, is more important today than ever before. As the National Women’s History Project sponsors its 30th Women’s History Month in March, Ford Motor Company is more aware than ever of the changing role that women hold in today’s society.
“Women pack a powerful purchasing punch,” said Christine Stasiw Lazarchuk, director of global marketing research for Ford. “And that’s grabbed the attention of all automakers searching for new business in an era of tight competition. Women are directly responsible for 45 to 50 percent of all new vehicles purchased in the U.S, and they have a direct influence of up to 80 percent of vehicles they don’t purchase themselves. And 65 percent take their own vehicles to the dealership or shop for repair. Women account for a whopping $85 billion in automotive and related businesses.”But it’s not only the U.S. that is seeing women’s roles shift.
“The whole world is changing, and it’s changing fast,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global trend manager. “Women are at the forefront of change that’s contributing significantly to an increase in their progress and power.”
Connelly sees five major global factors driving that change:
Improved education: Although gender disparities persist in some countries, the gender gap in education continues to narrow, allowing women to find their way into the work force. In the U.S., the number of women earning Ph.D.s is rising at a rate of 63 percent a year.
Career opportunities: With more education, women are finding their way into the work force, earning their own money. In China, for instance, 44 percent of government jobs are held by women.
Financial independence: Increased earning power is leading to financial independence for more women. Working women in relationships often out-earn their partners – by 25 percent in the U.S., 30 percent in Great Britain.
Delayed marriage and parenthood: More and more women are choosing to delay marriage to pursue education, career and personal development, with many choosing to have fewer children later in life. In Bangladesh, for instance, marriage is delayed due to incentives for girls to attend primary and secondary school, and in Brazil, the declining fertility rate has been attributed to women modeling their lives on the small, happy families they see on television.
Media: The spread of information in the media, particularly the Internet, has empowered women. About half of women worldwide own and use personal computers.
As the world changes, women obviously change with it, Connelly notes. When the economy began to crumble, many women took a lead role in keeping the home front together – either going back to work or taking over the belt-tightening of the budget.
“Gender roles have blurred,” Connelly said. “You no longer have the women always staying at home and the man of the house always the breadwinner. You don’t have those definitive roles anymore.”
That could make things difficult for Ford’s marketing team, charged with reaching target demographics that include, of course, the specific needs and wants of women.
Ford researchers queried women with 2008 vehicles and found that these are the highest-ranked features they don’t have on their vehicles, but they’d like to:
Run-flat tires (57 percent)
Rain-sensing wipers (44 percent)
Auto park assist (32 percent)
Tire pressure monitoring system (18 percent)

No comments:

Post a Comment