Women ‘major influence in retail sector'
Dubai, May 20, 2012
In line with global figures that point to women accounting for consumer spending worth $20 trillion, they are becoming a major retail influencer in the region with new demands on products and services, said an expert.
Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS Mena, the world’s largest custom market research organisation, said that in the midst of social change, young women are not shy of individualism and communicating self-identity.
Hamilton-Clark was citing the Arab as a Consumer (Arac) study carried out by TNS in Saudi Arabia recently. The research among female consumers in the Kingdom unveiled the emergence of new trends and behaviours influenced by sweeping change in the region’s approach to education, an increasingly relaxed press censorship and the empowerment of women.
He said that the report throws the spotlight on interesting trends that will help regional marketers understand this growing market better and in turn change the way they do business.
“Women in the Arab world are building higher public profiles and look to be creating their own space and image. Lists such as the ‘100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012’ reflect the essence of our findings; women are demanding respect in all aspects of their lives, especially in terms of expressing opinion, and being valued for what they do.”
Hamilton-Clark stressed that this change marks the redefinition of family values and personal relationships as a result of external pressures, and said that traditional husband and wife roles are evolving and the woman’s role in areas such as child development are also changing.
“This change can be attributed to the awareness of women’s rights influenced by religion, technology, TV, education, and career development.”
Arac findings show that while women currently represent 40 per cent of the global workforce, this figure falls to just 20 per cent in the Middle East. Hamilton-Clark said that this is set to increase as active participation by women in learning, development and the workplace continues and thus positively spurs economic growth.
“In the UAE, women now make up as much as 65 per cent of college enrolments and graduation. Organisations, marketers and governments need to recognise this, and fast.
“As the spending power of women increases, marketers too must acknowledge women as an important growing customer segment that need specific understanding and marketing strategies,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service
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