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From Sharing Economy to Sheconomy: The Evolution of Women and their Sphere of Influence

In its’ fourth installment of Women, Power & Money, Fleishman-Hillard and Hearst Magazines have released their survey which highlights the American woman’s “sphere of influence”. The latest study revealed many of the newly adopted traits of women consumers, their new consumer mindsets and redefined shopping habits. 

Women in the digital age continue to evolve following the adoption of mobile technology, social networks, and the increase in marketing messages. With an ever expanding social circle of virtual friends, family and social groups, her sphere of influence has amplified beyond her home, career or family to a media channel as the receiver, influencer and broadcaster of information in the marketplace.  

Women are interested in expressing their ideas and also discovering from these shared experiences. This is evidenced in the sudden growth of the social photo sharing website, Pinterest and the growing focus on collaborative consumption services like Ridejoy, Vayable, Tradepal, Taskrabbit and Airbnb. 

Technology is enabling trust between strangers on a scale that goes beyond what was imagined through bartering, sharing and trading. This was noted in the study as from the years 2008 to 2011, there was an increase from 31% to 50% in women surveyed who claimed they regularly influence friends and family on purchasing decisions. 

What this means for brands is rather than narrowing their message, they must adapt to target a varied constituency of American women who view themselves as successful and seriously assert their role as decision-maker. Woman have shifted their purchasing criteria toward the practical, value-oriented with a greater desire for substance over sizzle. 

As peer-based influence continues to grow, the issue of how we can better manage our consumption will continue to evolve. The area of collaborative consumption is now hitting the mainstream media as prosumers continue to look for better ways to consume and not go back to their prior habits.  

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