On an island where 52.3 percent of the population is female, there is no doubt that when it comes to driving the local economy, women are at the wheel, leveraging their considerable impact as market influencers and trendsetters.
This is the overarching thesis posited by advertising agency Arteaga & Arteaga’s latest study, “SHEconomy: A Blueprint of the Most Valuable Influencer,” a comprehensive look at the role women in Puerto Rico play in the consumer market.
The study, which highlights how brands can convert their female audience into brand ambassadors, was presented jointly with the Puerto Rico Sales & Marketing Executives Association, at the SME Power Meeting Wednesday.
“The results of this study mirror trends we are seeing around the world, in which women are the market’s most powerful consumers, and their impact on the economy is growing every year,” said Juan Alberto Arteaga, vice president of strategy at Arteaga Arteaga.
“The multiple hats women wear today — mother, professional, homemaker, etc. — pose significant challenges for marketers and advertisers, as change brought about by the continuing evolution in women’s roles have affected, and will continue to affect, all aspects of our society,” he said.
In developing the “SHEconomy” study, A&ANSWERS gathered data from a pool of more than 2,500 women in Puerto Rico, ages 18 and over, from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Through polls, interviews and other research methods, investigators touched on a variety of key behavioral indicators, including how they use their mobile devices, social media preferences, the role of technology in their consumer experience, and others.
The study concluded that there are four major profiles of women in the consumer market: the social networker; the health nut; mom central; and the shop-a-thority.
Each profile is defined by that particular group’s passion points, or that which drives them to do what they love rather than what they have to do, Arteaga said.
Sixty-one percent of social networkers are single with or with no kids, have active social lives, and are fully in control of their professional and personal lives.
Health nuts are usually in a higher income bracket and, as the name implies, take good care of their physical health.
For mom central women, family is the top priority, with a social life centered on hanging out with close friends.
The shop-a-thority does the real spending, from frivolous items to serious purchases. She is also bold and confident.
In general, the women that make up each of the groups interact with brands in different ways, the study revealed.
Technology is the common denominator
Though mobile devices and social media are an important part of everyone’s lives, this fact rings truer among women in Puerto Rico, the study showed.
The smartphone in particular is her tool of choice to stay connected, informed and aware. Six out of eight women always research brands and services when making a first-time purchase.
When it comes to the latter, social media is a powerful agent of word-of-mouth — 9 percent of women use social media to share positive purchase experiences. However, 20 percent go to social media to share sour experiences. Facebook and YouTube are the frontrunning platforms of choice, widely used by all the profiles defined above, followed by Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
For example, in the mom central group, 61 percent use Instagram, 45 percent use Snapchat, and 28 percent use Twitter. Similarly, the social networker is more active on Instagram, whereas the shop-a-thority is the queen of Twitter.
Message to marketers and retailers
“Given the scenario outlined in the study, the challenge for brands is to catch women’s attention and spark her curiosity in the most meaningful manner possible,” said Wilson Quiroga, president of the SME.
“Because social media is an important part of her life, it is up to marketers to craft engaging content — brand storytelling — that speaks to her reality through two-way conversation, not one-directional advertising messaging,” he said.
In highlighting the power of word-of-mouth and how women amplify this through social media, Arteaga also noted that for brands to be successful and connect with this particular demographic, they must find ways to turn female consumers into third-party advocates.
“The age of brands talking about themselves and extolling their virtues is over. Today, the Holy Grail of marketing communications is to get others to do the talking for you,” Arteaga said.
This is of significant importance among women, as this group drives 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence, he added.
“Influence means that even when a woman isn’t paying for something herself, she is often the influence or veto vote behind someone else’s purchase,” Arteaga concluded.