What Web Women Want

by Dec 19, 2000, 1:35 PM
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Vanguard Media today announced the results of a national survey of nearly 1000 women. The survey finds that although women are the financial gatekeepers in the home - managing the day-to-day finances in over 70% of households - they have not actively embraced the Internet as a day-to-day part of their financial activities.

Vanguard Media's MarketPersona(tm) study reveals that while more than 50% of women are online at home and over 30% are online at work, only 20% of women choose to gather information about financial products online. Yet, when women do gather financial information online, they visit their personal bank site almost as often as they visit Yahoo. "Financial institutions have a unique opportunity to position themselves competitively in the online market-especially among women.

Women seek detailed information when deciding on financial products, and tend to do more research than men to assure that their investment is safe," says Cindy Kindred, Managing Partner of Vanguard Media. "The fact that their local bank is a starting point as often as a large portal such as Yahoo gives credibility to a local bank's online efforts."

While only 20% of women online actively use the web to gather financial information, this number is expected to increase in the next two years. Already, women rank the Internet as a trustworthy source of financial information, above the more traditional resource of Investment Clubs. And, as there are more women online today than men, the use of the Internet for financial research is poised to grow further.

In addition to finding that women use the Internet cautiously, the survey indicates that women look for safe investments. Of the women with assets, nearly 25% of the women surveyed have liquid assets that they personally and solely own or manage with a net worth between $10,000-$50,000. But very few of these women diversify their investments-choosing instead secure investments such as savings accounts. In fact, 63% of women surveyed own savings accounts, 30% of women invest in mutual funds, 29% in stocks and bonds while 22.8% choose CDs.

"Women are traditionalists when it comes to money. They invest conservatively, trust personal referrals, and are extraordinarily loyal when they are happy with a service provider," says Amy Mills, Brand Director at Vanguard Media. "As the female online user group continues to grow, establishing a relationship with these key decision-makers becomes increasingly important. Companies will no longer be able to take the woman customer for granted. She will continue to influence over 80% of household decisions and make over 70% of 'checkbook' decisions."

Not surprisingly, the survey indicates that bankers are still the most trusted non-family source of financial information for women (INDEX 100), followed closely by newspapers (INDEX 94.2) and the financial press (INDEX 93.9).

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