Women make up half the population of the U.S., but are estimated to drive more than 80% of consumer purchases, through a combination of buying and influence. Women’s discretionary spending power on a global scale is only expected to grow, placing a major emphasis on brands to get in touch with the woman consumer. 

CivicScience data continues to underscore that a brand’s consumer-facing values play a significant role for consumers, but it’s certainly not one-size-fits-all. Different segments of the population can vary drastically in how a brand’s values are viewed and how they factor into purchasing decisions. 

In light of Women’s History Month, here are three key ways that U.S. women differ from U.S. men when it comes to brand values.

Company Social Consciousness and Kindness

To what extent does a brand’s “social consciousness” matter to U.S. consumers, such as fair and sustainable practices, employee treatment, and position on social issues? March data show that the majority of the general population – 72% – say that social consciousness and overall kindness are at least ‘somewhat important’ when choosing where to shop and what to buy. To U.S. women, these aspects are even more influential – 77% say social consciousness and kindness factor into their shopping and purchasing decisions to some extent, compared to 65% of men. And more women (35%) are likely to say it’s ‘very important’ to them compared to men (26%).

That said, data show overall importance shifted from February to March, continuing on a downward trend for both women and men. Those who say company social consciousness and kindness are ‘not important’ rose three points for women and one point for men. At the same time, those who feel these are ‘very important’ also rose one to two percentage points among men and women, indicating a polarizing effect taking place among the population.

Brand Values and Stance on Social Issues

Digging deeper into the territory of brand social consciousness, consumer data strongly suggest that a brand’s stance on social issues – or lack of one – is bound to have an impact on consumer choices. Women are largely similar to men when it comes to certain factors. They’re just as likely to say they would boycott brands that support causes they’re against, and slightly more likely to say they would switch to brands that share their values and research a brand’s stance on social issues.

However, women are are less likely than men to think that brands should avoid taking a stand on social issues (74% to 79%) and more likely to care about what that stance is (62% to 59%).

Support for Women-Owned Businesses

How many U.S. consumers value shopping women-owned brands and businesses? Recent data show that a total of 31% of the Gen Pop is likely to prioritize shopping women-owned brands with some level of consistency. In comparison, 35% of the Gen Pop say the same for minority-owned brands. However, women are nearly twice as likely as men to make it a point to shop women-owned, at 40% versus 22%. Eleven percent of women say they shop women-owned at every opportunity, while 29% do so when convenient.

For more forward-looking insights like these into how women are shaping market and economic trends, work with us.