I had the opportunity to meeting Jim Coughlin, DeveloperWorks Web Strategy, manager yesterday. I then tune into his blog this morning and read this very exiting article, that I am tempted to share with you here, even if this study was conducted in November 2009 – which is “old” in our fast moving web world. Oh, well… I owe this to my ladies readers : “Women represent the biggest emerging market that we’ll see in our lifetime”.
According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, women are now poised to drive the post-recession world economy, thanks to an estimated $5 trillion in new female-earned income that will be coming on line over the next five years.
Here are few highlights from a recent Newsweek article on the female emerging market.
- While most of us know intuitively that women’s place in the world has risen in the last several decades, a look at the hard data is startling, in a good way. Huge improvements in female access to education around the world mean that the literacy rates for young women, which used to trail those of men by 30 % or more, are now almost universally within a single digit of men’s. In the U.S. and the EU, most college students are already women, and even in most of the key developing countries, girls now fare nearly as well as boys in primary- and secondary-school enrollment. Labor-force participation, already high in rich countries, has jumped exponentially in large swaths of the developing world over the last few years; 70 percent of women in countries like China and Vietnam now work
- The rise of women as a grand, cross-border emerging market could have implications as profound as the rise of India and China. There’s a wide body of research to suggest that women’s spending patterns may be exactly what the world needs at this moment. “Economists have studied how women spend in comparison to to men, and they tend to spend more on things that are linked to people’s well being, like health and education. They also tend to save more, and exhibit less risky financial behavior,” notes Yassine Fall, senior economic adviser for UNIFEM, the U.N. agency dedicated to women. The fallout for business and investors could be significant. Goldman Sachs estimates, for example, that more male-oriented product categories may show slower growth rates than areas like consumer durables, food, health care, and child care—in short, all the stuff that women spend their money on.
- Women may also play an important role in reshaping industries like financial services. The female propensity to save may fuel growth of banking services in countries such as India, where roughly half of all household assets are currently held in physical categories like land and machinery. The vast unmet desire among Western women for more simple, understandable financial products and services could also help make retail investing in countries like the U.S. more accessible and transparent. Analysts say companies like Visa, Wal-Mart, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, and others that already have a strong leg up in the women’s market stand to prosper further from the female consumer boom.
In her article Passing the Technical Torch: “Intrepreneurs” are the New Entrepreneurs, IBM’s Sharon Nunes points out that women are also shaping and defining new emerging IT market opportunities. Recently, Sharon spoke at a conference focused on preparing female scientists and engineers for successful transition into entrepreneurship. The conference held by the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine, offered a session to discuss the concept of “intrepreneurship” as an alternative to the traditional entrepreneurial thinking.