In previous generations, women were often defined as mothers and homemakers who had little direct impact on the economy.
Today, however, women are assuming the role of decision maker when it comes to household expenses and purchases; they now account for 85% of all consumer spending.
Mary Van Note, a partner of Ginger Consulting LLC (a Minneapolis-based branding firm), says that “Women are the CEO of the household. They often act as the chief purchasing officer. They purchase on behalf of themselves, but also their husbands and kids.”
Beth Perro-Jarvis – also with Ginger Consulting – continues: “It ultimately comes back to the multitasking prowess of women. They do everything—women tend not to focus on just one thing, like the home or their career. We’re not claiming men focus on one thing, but women do tend to be multi-taskers. They tend to take on multiple responsibilities.”
In addition, women make up 51% of the US population, and come with $7 trillion in spendable income. These factors have made it important for retailers to secure long-term loyalty with this very lucrative demographic. And with mealtime still often relegated to the female head-of-the-household, quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants are aggressively targeting women as they battle for market share.
Margot Dorfman, founder and CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce says, “Because women tend to be the caregivers in a family, they care about health. If you take a look at the woman’s role in a family unit, women tend to control purchasing decisions in the home, and they want healthy things for their children. That translates into many industries, but especially dining and foodservice.”
And QSRs/Fast Casuals are responding.
A study in the research journal Appetite reports that women believe eating their fruits and veggies will make them look younger and keep them living longer. This means that healthful menu items, fresh ingredients and customizable offerings are high on the wish list of female consumers. And anything high on the wish list of female consumers automatically makes it high on the QSRs’ priority list to appear on their menus.