I recently spoke at the International Home & Housewares Show about the importance of midlife consumers — specifically midlife women — in this market.
As in other categories, these women are routinely ignored or taken for granted. While people who read this column know that Boomers and Gen X consumers are worth targeting, you may not realize that they are worth targeting not just for age-related products and services but for all products, including housewares.
Recent research we’ve conducted confirms that women 45+ are routinely paying more for quality products, buying more of those products online, and buying more of them for other members of their families than ever before.
Our research for the Housewares Show confirmed what we’ve seen in categories as different as cosmetics, shoes, and financial services. Women are buying more products online than ever. They’re doing so because it’s more convenient and because it’s a safe way to avoid the unfriendly treatment they often receive in traditional retail stores.
Half of women 45+ are now buying small appliances and kitchen/dining accessories online. And 81% of them are using online research before making a purchase online or in a traditional bricks-and-mortar store. Don’t think you can reach this woman without having an online presence.
Paying More for Quality
What is she looking for in housewares products? More than anything else: Quality. Seventy percent of survey respondents told us that quality is the most important factor in purchasing housewares. For manufacturers and retailers trying to chase business based on pricing alone, these Gen X and Boomer women represent a safe haven from bargain-hunters that drive margins from their business, and manufacturers should use this information to challenge retailers who think price alone matters, at all ages.
Influencing More Purchases than Her Own
When women (and men) of earlier generations grew up, they didn’t want to buy their parents’ brands; they wanted to make the world their own. Things are different today, and the generation gap that Boomers once knew has disappeared.
What does that mean for manufacturers and retailers who want to reach women 45+? It means that marketing to young Millennial consumers means marketing to their parents.
Our research showed that 31% of women are directly influencing appliance and housewares purchases by their children. And 24% are actually buying such products – including higher-priced home furnishing products – for their adult children.
How Manufacturers and Retailers Can Target Women 45+
Even for smaller price-point items (like housewares), what we all know about marketing to women at midlife holds true: