@ erwwpr 3
•To identify the forces driving the future and plan for
@ erwwpr 4
•To identify the forces driving the future and plan for long-
•To discover unexpected opportunities that help
transform brands and businesses.
@ erwwpr 5
•To identify the forces driving the future and plan for long-
•To discover unexpected opportunities that help transform
brands and businesses.
•And for us here today: To understand what trends are
going to make a difference to the women’s market not
only in the Gulf but also worldwide.
@ erwwpr 6
It means tracking
•Who needs invisibility cloaks à la Harry Potter? Plenty of
women get the feeling that they become invisible as they get
into their 40s, as confirmed by a recent poll from Clarivu Total
Our own poll of more than 7,200 people in 19 countries
found widespread agreement that society has become too
youth-obsessed: Globally, 70 percent of men and 75 percent
of women think so.
•Where is the youth obsession felt by most women? 77 percent
in Brazil and the U.K.; 78 percent in Australia, the U.S.,
Canada and Poland; 89 percent in South Africa; and 91 percent
@ erwwpr 9
•Two-thirds (68 percent) of women worldwide give a thumbs-
down to cosmetic surgery—they think people should be more
accepting of how they look at every age. (This still leaves plenty
of customers for plastic surgeons in Brazil and Lebanon.)
•In parallel separate polls, the youth obsession was felt by
57 percent of women and men in the UAE, 46 percent in the
KSA and 55 percent in Lebanon; dislike of cosmetic surgery
was noted by 45 percent in the UAE, 38 percent in the KSA
and 39 percent in Lebanon.
@ erwwpr 10
•In most developed markets, growing numbers of women are
moving into their 40s and beyond. The median age of women in
Canada is 42, and it’s 41 in the U.K., 40 in Poland and 38 in
•It’s time for marketers to develop better ways of addressing
this important demographic—ways that feel genuine, not
euphemistic; celebratory, not consoling; mainstream, not nichey.
Among the younger demographics of the Middle East, it’s
even more important to find better ways of connecting
appropriately with maturing women as they find their
place between traditional and 21st-century roles.
@ erwwpr 11
In any country where women get fair access to education,
they perform more impressively than men.
•In the U.S., 1.2 million more women than men hold at least a
bachelor’s degree, and women account for half of all Americans
with a post-graduate degree.
•Across the EU, 59 percent of graduating students are women.
•In China, women account for 49 percent of tertiary education
graduates, 35 percent of students and 63 percent of students
taking the GMAT (graduate management admission test).
@ erwwpr 13
•In the KSA, women comprise 58 percent of the nation’s study
body; the Kingdom recently opened the world’s largest
university for women.
•Middle Eastern women scientists have recently made headlines:
Dr. Ghadeer Ibrahim Omar from Nablus, Dr. Ghada Al Haboub
from Yemen and Reem Hamdan of Jordan.
@ erwwpr 14
•How far has the culture and the thinking of marketers taken
on the notion that women consumers are at least as smart and
educated as men?
•Cultures tend to change slowly, only when they have to, and
from the edges.
•Many Middle Eastern women look to France, where women of
ME origin have become business icons.
Marketing teams need to make sure they have strong
complements of smart, educated women with the power
to implement their ideas and connect with the growing
numbers of smarter female consumers.
@ erwwpr 15
“Women who seek to be equal
with men lack ambition.”—Mastin Kipp, founder, TheDailyLove.com
@ erwwpr 16
•In much of the economically developed world, the old
social/marketing stereotypes of young women married with
kids are about as relevant as the square-jawed young man in a
business suit and tie.
With longer education and access to better work, more
women around the world are staying single longer—and
even choosing to join the growing ranks of singletons.
•In the 27 EU countries, 17 percent of households are single
women living alone and 4 percent are single women with
children. In the U.K., 51 percent of women under 50 have
never married and only one-third of those are co-habiting.
@ erwwpr 18
•In South Korea, 20 percent of women in their 30s are single.
Also, Japan has a higher proportion of single women aged 20
to 40 than the U.S.
•In ME countries, marriage continues to be the norm for young
women, although the number of women married by age 18 has
decreased by 49 percent.
@ erwwpr 19
•The media in many countries are fascinated by the singleton
phenomenon and tend to treat it as a problem for the single
women and for society.
•Yet singledom is increasingly a deliberate choice made by
women well equipped with education, a job and the confidence
to make their way without rushing into anything. (Expect to
see growing numbers of women staying longer in education and
waiting to get married in the Middle East, too.)
•Compared with their married or co-habiting peers, the rising
generations of singletons tend to have more disposable income
and more time to enjoy it.
Marketers need to recognize that singletons don’t
perceive themselves as wannabe or failed marrieds, nor
as rebellious feminists nor as go-for-it hedonists.
@ erwwpr 20
•Is it women’s nature to worry more than men do, or maybe
just to express their anxieties more?
•Healthcare professionals report that both generalized anxiety
and anxiety disorders are increasing and are more common
@ erwwpr 22
•In all the surveys I’ve commissioned over more than a decade,
women consistently show higher levels of worry than men.
In our 2011 survey, every one of 35 named issues of
concern worried more women than men, including:
– Crime and random violence (62 percent vs. 52 percent)
– Environmental destruction/climate change (58 percent vs. 49
– Loss of respect for elders (54 percent vs. 45 percent)
– The health impact of our sedentary lifestyles (39 percent vs.
@ erwwpr 23
•Marketers can’t fail to acknowledge and address all that
anxiety—it’s part of the zeitgeist.
•Some of the anxiety out there is clinical and has to be handled
by healthcare professionals (marketers aren’t therapists).
•Some of the anxiety is due to stress caused by the prevailing
culture of striving to “have it all”—and some marketing
certainly plays a role in fueling that.
•Some of the anxiety is due to realistic perceptions of real
problems (e.g., sedentary lifestyles).
Marketers can help consumers think more clearly about
which problems they can realistically address and offer a
helping hand to address them.
@ erwwpr 24
“Women are socialized to
believe that they are in charge
of emotional affairs. When they
can’t meet expectations, they
—Stephanie Coontz, co-chair and director of public
education at the Council on Contemporary Families
@ erwwpr 25
•Since 2007-08, consumer culture has had a rougher ride than
in the heady years of the long boom.
•Developed economies have been in the grips of the ongoing
economic crisis, while developing and (former) communist
countries have been more exposed to full-on market economics.
A large majority of women globally (70 percent vs.
65 percent of men) think society has become too shallow,
focusing too much on things that don’t really matter. The
gender gap is widest in Poland (72 percent vs. 58 percent),
South Africa (87 percent vs. 74 percent) and China
(65 percent vs. 50 percent).
@ erwwpr 27
•Worldwide, many women (62 percent vs. 59 percent of men)
think society is moving in the wrong direction, especially in
Latin America (Brazil, 69 percent vs. 66 percent; Mexico,
63 percent vs. 62 percent; Argentina, 62 percent vs. 55 percent;
and Colombia, 76 percent vs. 71 percent).
@ erwwpr 28
•When times are tough and turbulent, and things are changing
fast, people tend to ask more probing questions in every
domain (think Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement).
•Consumers mostly don’t expect brands to save the world, but
increasingly they do expect brands to be genuinely interested
in more than making money and creating shareholder value.
Smart marketers will ensure that brands embody values
that matter to consumers, that they live those values in
their actions and that they communicate them
@ erwwpr 29
“[A Coca-Cola campaign in the Middle East
that reflected a change in strategy after the
Arab Spring], says the Brand Union’s creative
director, Paul Cardwell, highlights the fact that
there is no alternative but for brands to work
towards integrating awareness and consider
their accountability for the social impact of
campaign messages and ensure the brand is
perceived to be authentic. His advice? ‘Don’t
try to ride the wave, be in the wave.’”—Gulf Marketing Review, November 2011
@ erwwpr 30
•Conventional wisdom has it that women make more socially
oriented choices while men make more individually oriented
choices. In other words, men are more selfish than women.
•Maybe that was the case when women were stuck at home, but
does it still hold true in the era of career women and singletons?
@ erwwpr 32
•A growing body of scientific research confirms that regardless
of the changing culture, there are consistent and fundamental
differences between male and female brains. Women tend to
perceive and think in terms of “we” rather than “me.”
Gender-determined differences in brain structure makes
women more inclined to consider the impact of their
actions on others.
@ erwwpr 33
•How much of marketing thinking is driven by stereotypes of
how women respond rather than by well-founded insights?
Marketers who want to address global women more
effectively need to dig much deeper into women’s thought
processes on purchase decisions.
•In particular, “we” awareness often makes purchasing a lot more
complex; women tend to consider numerous goals and criteria.
•There’s a bigger prize than just the huge female market. The
“More We than Me” paradigm is increasingly visible in the
rising generation of millennials, both males and females.
@ erwwpr 34
“If Lehman Brothers had been
a bit more Lehman Sisters ... we
would not have had the degree
of tragedy that we had as a
result of what happened.”—International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde
@ erwwpr 35
•Forget pinks and mauves—green is the color that makes women
Globally, 72 percent of women say that making
environmentally friendly choices gets them feeling good,
compared with 57 percent of men.
•The widest green gender gaps are in the U.K. (74 percent
women vs. 56 percent men), Canada (75 percent vs. 63 percent)
and France (74 percent vs. 67 percent).
@ erwwpr 37
•It’s a similar picture with trash: One-third (66 percent) of
women worldwide say they feel good about reducing the amount
of waste they create, compared with 56 percent of men. The
widest gender gaps are in English-speaking countries: the U.S.
(69 percent vs. 59 percent), Australia (78 percent vs. 64 percent)
and the U.K. (71 percent vs. 55 percent).
@ erwwpr 38
•Eco awareness jibes with other important female concerns of
our times: worrying more, questioning values and considering
impact on others.
•Exactly how much weight eco credentials carry with women
depends on a bunch of variables: the product category, the
demographic and cultural profile of the consumers, other
product attributes and more.
Eco credentials might not be a dealbreaker on most
occasions, but for any marketer aiming to win over
women consumers, it makes sense to include a good green
feeling as part of the deal.
@ erwwpr 39
•There’s growing evidence from many sources that women use
social media more actively than men.
We found the same in our global study: In many
countries, many more women than men say social
networking sites are one of the main ways they stay
connected with friends.
@ erwwpr 41
•There’s a clear gender gap in the U.S. (70 percent vs. 64 percent),
Canada (73 percent vs. 66 percent) and the U.K. (64 percent
vs. 57 percent), but it’s widest in Australia (76 percent vs.
66 percent), France (65 percent vs. 52 percent) and Brazil
(85 percent vs. 75 percent).
@ erwwpr 42
•There’s a temptation to see the term “social media” and think
“Facebook” and maybe “Twitter” as well, but they’re just a
couple of the most visible platforms. Social media is a lot more:
It’s all forms of media that enable users to participate and
engage in dialogue.
•Social media covers tens of thousands of online forums and
discussion sites around every imaginable area of interest:
music, sports, healthcare, parenting, dating, gadgets, lifestyle
and much more.
•With all the SoMe platforms out there, marketers have a golden
opportunity to connect and engage with millions of women,
provided … they remember that the opportunity is to
listen, connect, learn, converse and build relationships—
not tell and sell.
@ erwwpr 43
“Marketing needs to become more
meaningful and real, warns SMG
Dubai’s Mohit Lodha. ‘Consumers are
taking control of the marketing
conversation and becoming increasingly
active and participative. Marketers
need to acknowledge this and embrace
co-creation.’”—Gulf Marketing Review, November 2011
@ erwwpr 44
•Men are more inclined to broadcast their opinions and “status”
over social media; their online communication tends to be more
linear and competitive.
•Men are more likely to take a dominant stance and act as
collectors, creators and critics.
@ erwwpr 46
•Women tend more to participate in online communities, share
information and engage in conversation.
Women are more likely to follow brands and watch out
for discounts and offers, tapping social media to seek out
@ erwwpr 47
•Despite impressions to the contrary, interactive and social
media have not been around forever—they are young and
constantly evolving, so any playback soon gets overtaken by
•Example: Virtual scrapbooking site Pinterest came out of left
field late in 2011 and scored big with a female-skewed
demographic, and it has become a must in marketing clothing,
furnishings, fabrics, jewelry and travel.
With all the innovation, hype and churn, the smart
strategy for marketers is constant experimentation.
•The tools and channels will vary, but the objective is constant:
give women good reasons to get interested in the brand and
give them good things from it to share with one another.
@ erwwpr 48
“I look after the big stuff like global politics, world peace and the
Palestine conflict. My wife does the small stuff like taking care of the
home and buying food and clothes for the family.” —An Arab woman
on BBC Radio recounting male café conversation
Women everywhere are looking after all the “small” stuff
that really adds up: Worldwide, they are now reckoned to
control $20 trillion, or about 70 percent of global
@ erwwpr 50
•A multicountry Boston Consulting Group study found women
calling the purchasing shots across a range of key consumer
areas, on products such as financial services, insurance
•Despite all their decision-making power, women tend to feel
their role and influence in important decisions is not
acknowledged by brands and marketers.
@ erwwpr 51
•Whole swaths of marketers are stuck in a bind—intellectually
they’ve heard all about female buying power and influence, but
culturally they can’t help but treat it as a niche, a subset of
•Countries around the world, including the U.S., are still stuck in
the mindset that women’s growing economic power and
influence is a blip, a deviation.
It’s not a blip. It’s the new norm.
•The sooner marketers tune in to the new reality of global
women consumers, the better they will be able to earn their
slice of that massive spending power.
@ erwwpr 52
More empty nests are full once again as Mom and Dad
come to the rescue of college grads burdened with debts
and bleak prospects in a dire job market. Suddenly, being
a mom has no expiration date in sight.
•According to Pew, more than one in five young American adults
(age 25 to 34) live in multigenerational households—think “The
Waltons” rather than “Friends.”
@ erwwpr 54
•“Multigenerational” is increasingly likely to include seniors,
too. Whether wanting to remain actively involved or to avoid
the cost of living in a senior center, silvers are finding good
reasons to move in with their grown children.
@ erwwpr 55
•Almost a third (60 percent) of women serve as caregivers to
other family members or friends, which might mean leaving a
job or reducing hours.
•Companies need to be prepared to not only recognize the
situation but also to help those women be financially realistic
about what caregiving means and how they need to adjust their
•Multigenerational homes can help alleviate the increasing
pressure on women to be everything to everyone because of the
built-in babysitters (think Michelle Obama’s mother) who can
also help maintain order.
With 2.5 million grandparents responsible for the
basic needs of a grandchild living with them,
marketers need to pay more attention to Grandma
when marketing supplies such as shampoo.
@ erwwpr 56
“Women are not an interest
group. You shouldn’t be treated
that way. Women are over half
[of the United States] and its
workforce—not to mention
80 percent of my household, if you
count my mother-in-law. And I
always count my mother-in-law.”
—U.S. President Barack Obama
@ erwwpr 57
•Even if we don’t like the name, we all love social media
(especially women), in one form or another. But sometimes
its paradoxes are just plain ridiculous—or tragic.
•People don’t smoke anymore when nervous in a social setting;
they check their Facebook page or Twitter feed on their
@ erwwpr 59
•Some people even do it while walking, shopping, fishing,
jogging, cycling … oblivious to the people around them—until
they bump into them.
The “new social” often interrupts physical interactions
with people as attention flits from face-to-face
conversation to the online action.
@ erwwpr 60
•Fifty-nine percent of online adults use at least one social
networking site. Are there benefits with connection?
•It’s a one-way trend of more technology. Another 10 years of
smartphones and tablets (iPad 13?) will make it even more
compelling for consumers to interact socially through tech.
Because women love to connect, marketers need to focus
on how technology and social media can foster connections
that bring women together in the flesh, so they don’t get
out of practice.
@ erwwpr 61
•Men have traditionally dominated tech fields, where women
remain at a distinct disadvantage by any metric: average
salary, top-management representation, board memberships.
•But that’s about to change, with new appointments such as
Virginia Rometty as IBM’s first female CEO and Rachel Sterne
(age 28) as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chief digital officer for
New York City.
Maybe it’s because women excel at communications, but
look for them to succeed in everything from startups to
media gigs as they continue to embrace tech.
@ erwwpr 63
•Girl Geek Dinners is a movement that has grown to 24 countries
since 2005, so look out for geekettes in your neighborhood.
•Middle Eastern women are extending their IT skills and knowledge
with partnership programs such as Women in Technology.
@ erwwpr 64
•Online forums and organizations offer a collaborative and
supportive ecosystem, enabling women from around the
world to start their own companies and build sustainable
•Most young women are exposed to technology at a young
age, with mobile phones, tablets, the Web or social media.
They are much more tech-proficient than previous generations
because they use it for all their schoolwork, communication
@ erwwpr 65
•Today, learning on the job is becoming more valuable than
science and technology degrees (of which women have only
about 20 percent), opening up more opportunities to women to
In a field dominated by men, there’s huge scope for
brands, products and personalities that represent
women’s different needs on their own terms.
@ erwwpr 66
•Whose product reviews and recommendations really count these
days? Increasingly, we (especially women) look to friends and
social network contacts as our experts.
Social networks are natural hangouts for “high sharers”
who like to air their opinions. They’re ideal for finding
people whose circumstances and tastes are relevant to
@ erwwpr 68
•Marketers are eager to target these high sharers and their
sway: Facebook has big pull when it comes to baby brands, for
instance; YouTube is handy for music marketers; review sites
pack a punch for electronics.
@ erwwpr 69
•In this volatile environment where social media feeds broadcast
media, and is fed by it, massive waves of comments can build
fast—both to positive and negative effect.
The yang is smart brand-forward initiatives; the yin
must be smart brand-defense systems to spot negative
currents on social media and turn the tide.
@ erwwpr 70
•As more people carry more digital technology around with
them, the boundaries are blurring: work/life, online/offline,
real/virtual, here/there, local/global, day/night, private/public,
•No segment is more affected by these blurring lines than
women who struggle to maintain a work-life balance in a world
that tells them they can do it all.
@ erwwpr 72
•Many ME women are experiencing a difficult transition from
the hard work of traditional life to the easy conditions of
modern living; TV, malls and mobiles make life more
convenient—but also more boring.
Women in general feel more ambivalent about the 24/7,
always-on blurring of life. On one hand, they expect total
connectivity; on the other, they suspect it’s not totally
good for them.
@ erwwpr 73
•Having it all seems to come at a price as guilt over work-life
balance rises (more calls coming from the office during family
time, for instance).
•This underscores the importance of focusing on the implications
of gender and emotions for psychological health of working moms.
•Women make technology work for their lives as they struggle
for balance. Shortly after buying a tech product, they quickly
integrate it into all aspects of their daily lives, taking advantage
of all its applications (men more often don’t take the time to
learn their products’ full uses).
Consumer electronics companies should listen up and
spend more time targeting women and giving them
practical reasons to buy specific devices, and let the
usage patterns follow.
@ erwwpr 74
•Over the past decades, the world has been conducting massive
real-life experiments with different ways of arranging societies,
especially with the roles of men and women.
•There are big differences even between “close” geographic
neighbors such as Scandinavia and southern Europe, China and
Japan, and across the Middle East.
@ erwwpr 75
•One global similarity is that wherever women have opportunities
in education, business and civic organizations, they do well.
•Another is that engaging with global technology, business and
media affects traditional patterns of life; life is never the same
after TV, malls, cars and technology.
Brands and marketers in the Gulf have a delicate choice
to make: Position ahead of the curve of the changing
situations for women, or stick with the mainstream?
@ erwwpr 76
“When women thrive, all of society
benefits, and succeeding generations
are given a better start in life.”
—Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations
@ erwwpr 77
•Imagine the gender reverse of the current situation.
•Imagine the C-suites of corporations and upper tiers of
governments and institutions full of women, with a sprinkling
•Imagine being able to pitch a gender-neutral product (car,
computer) at women without turning off men.
•Imagine an industry conference where everybody is talking
about how we need to understand the ways in which men are
different, and how we must learn to market better to men.
None of these scenarios is likely for a long time to come,
but in the past few years they have stopped being
impossible to imagine.
@ erwwpr 78