Brands are Reaching Women Through Lifestage Segmentation

According to new research by Harbinger Communications, women are more likely to purchase brands that share their personal values, aspirations and interests, and that these may vary by lifestage. To become and remain relevant to a woman as she transitions through lifestages, a brand must serve a greater purpose which transcends how her priorities and cares shift over time, says the report.

The study, says the report, is particularly meaningful for marketers in its revelation that today’s most dominant and profitable consumer brands are driven by a clear and compelling raison d’être beyond the physical goods and services they sell.

The report defines Brand Purpose as the ownable, actionable impact the brand will make on the lives of the target consumers, rooted at the intersection of what the brand offers the world and the consumer’s deepest cares and desires.

Key findings of the study are summarized by Harbinger as follows:

  • Brands women are most likely to identify as “preferred” and “representing what’s important to me” have attributes and messaging that align with their personal priorities
  • Brands that understand their core consumers’ values and cares will drive preference, purchase and profit
  • Women’s values, aspirations and interests can change by lifestage and differ among segments within lifestages
  • While men and women share many of the same values, attitudes and priorities, there are key differences in their aspirations, priorities and interests

According to the report, the study validates the existence of six lifestages, which can be further broken out into 10 female consumer segments, based on career status, age and income.

The research found six differentiated lifestages among women based on key milestones such as marriage, having children and retirement, as well as common interests and priorities as opposed demographics such as age or income. 

Though her journey may not be linear, says the report, most women will transition through these several lifestages over time. These lifestages can be further split by career, age and income offering actionable segment-level insights for marketers, says the report:

  • SINGLETON • not in a relationship and doesn’t have any children • focused on her personal development and friends • beyond health, she is most interested in beauty, fashion, travel, sports, technology and pop culture 
  • ME TO WE • home and family become greater interests; other interests decline vs. the Singleton • Loyal to brands that “get her”
  • PRE-SCHOOL MOM • first child brings a dramatic shift in priorities and behaviors toward family and home • interest in travel and current events as well as friends as a priority, hits a low • Loyal to brands that make her life easier and make her family happy
  • SCHOOL MOM • once children reach school age, some time and attention shift from her kids and spouse back to herself and friends • family and home remain top interests; beauty and fashion become less of a priority • Loyal to brands that make her family happy
  • ZOOMER • as children approach adulthood and she plans for retirement, priorities shift significantly from her children and career to leisure and wellness • interest in beauty and fashion declines, while interest in current events, finance and travel rises • Loyal to brands that do what they promise and offer good value
  • GOLDEN YEARS • with her children no longer dependent and with the arrival of retirement she is free to focus on wellness • interest in health and current events peaks, while her interest in beauty, fashion and pop culture falls • Least likely to be influenced by brands, she prefers brands that offer good value and do what they promise

And the six life stages are further split into 10 distinct segments based primarily on differences in income and the presence and age of children in a woman’s life, says the report. Each segment has specific values, desires, priorities and behaviors that separate one group from another. The interests and size of these individual segments are summarized as:

  • YOUNG SINGLE (12%) • looking for brands that help her feel confident and beautiful, to express her individuality and have fun
  • INDEPENDENT WOMAN (7%) • responds to brands that respect her intelligence and empower her to achieve her personal goals
  • DUAL INCOME NO KIDS (5%) • seeks fun, experiential brands that she can enjoy with her spouse and friends, while building her home
  • DUAL INCOME MOM (11%) • will respond to practical brands that allow her to spend more time with her family and service their core needs (health, love, self-esteem.) • wants products that make her family happy and her life easier.
  • HIGH INCOME PROFESSIONAL MOM (11%) • rarely compromises • seeks aspirational, experiential brands that enrich her busy personal and family life
  • SINGLE MOM (9%) • has high hopes for herself and for her children • will respond to accessible, social, aspirational brands that empower her to pursue her dreams on a shoestring
  • FULL-TIME MOM (8%) • seeks brands that will enrich her household and her family’s lives, and put her children first • help her to be the consummate homemaker
  • SOLO ZOOMER (11%) • experienced and practical in her view of brands • build brand credibility through expert endorsements, especially online
  • COUPLED ZOOMER (12%) • responds to wholesome brands that help her remain relevant in her role as wife and caregiver (possibly as a grandmother,) and brands that enable her to enjoy a happy, healthy transition into retirement
  • GOLDEN GIRL (14%) • least likely to try new brands, as personal experience is her largest purchase influencer • appeal to strong desire to preserve her health and wellness and to clearly demonstrate superior value

The report concludes by noting that painting all females with the same brush will be a disservice. More and more, consumers are looking to engage with brands with a point of view, which add genuine value to their lives, and their spending behavior proves it. By gaining an understanding of women’s values and what’s important to them, there is a major opportunity for marketers to develop a brand purpose that taps into those cares and desires that ultimately can drive purchase, preference and profit.


For additional information from Harbinger, please visit here.



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