Women’s earning potential has increased dramatically over the past decade. We are entering an age where women will dominate the economy, Time magazine predicted in a November 22, 2010 article. Calling the phenomenon the “sheconomy,” Time noted that women now control 51.3% of the private wealth in the U.S. and own one-third of America’s businesses. More women than men now hold college degrees. Women already hold nearly half of America’s non-farm jobs; and over the next decade, 90% of the occupations predicted to provide the greatest job growth are currently dominated by women. In America’s largest cities, the median income of childless women in their 20s is 108% higher than their male counterparts with women in some metro areas pulling in salaries that are 15% to 21% higher than those earned by men. Among married couples, 35% of wives now earn more than their husbands.
Not only is the income balance tipping in favor of women, but increased financial freedom has brought huge gains in their buying power. Today, women make an estimated 85% of home purchasing decisions. Women control 58% of the retail dollars spent in the U.S., make 80% of the health care decisions, purchase 45% of consumer electronics and, of particular import to RV dealers, are either directly responsible for or have a significant impact on the purchasing decisions of the majority of the new vehicles sold in the U.S.
“Women pack a powerful purchasing punch, Christine Stasiw Lazarchuk, Ford’s director of global marketing research, said in a March 18, 2010 online article posted on The Ford Story website. “And that’s grabbed the attention of all automakers searching for new business in an era of tight competition. Women are directly responsible for 45 to 50% of all new vehicles purchased in the U.S., and they have a direct influence of up to 80% of vehicles they don’t purchase themselves.” According to Lazarchuck, “Women account for a whopping $85 billion in automotive and related businesses.”
In the RV industry, increased economic power and increased buying power, coupled with robust growth in the number of women RVers means that RV dealerships will have to focus a greater portion of their marketing effort on women if they want to increase their share of the RV market. Businesses that have already embraced the sheconomy, have discovered that women require a different marketing approach than men. In general, marketers such as Ford and Best Buy have found that women are less impressed by flashy features and more concerned about practicality and convenience than men. They want facts and figures when they shop, place a high value on customer service and respond positively to personalized customer service. Surveys have found that woman prefer to deal with the same person every time they contact a dealership and will reward RV dealers who make the effort to establish a personal relationship with unswerving customer loyalty.