Although women comprise half of the U.S. population, they dominate the nation’s consumer market. 

According to Catalyst, a nonprofit supporting female workers, women were responsible for $6.4 trillion in consumer spending in 2019. Moreover, it’s estimated that women drive roughly 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions throughout the U.S. each year. 

In fact, a CivicScience survey of more than 80,000 U.S. adults in the last year showed 70% of women making all or most of the purchases in their households.

We already know women make the majority of the healthcare and insurance spending decisions, as seen in the graph below, but the data also indicate women are increasingly making more decisions regarding technology.

Women are Increasingly Becoming Primary Decision-Makers, Even in Once Male-Dominated Industries

Despite women’s rising economic power, outdated attitudes regarding the types of products and services that appeal to women persist. As a result, women generally report feeling underserved and undervalued by the consumer market industry, especially in markets like technology, which have been historically regarded as male-oriented.

Yet when it comes to choosing new technologies for the home, women make a sizable share of purchasing decisions.

In a recent CivicScience survey, 60% of women said they were the ones who made all or nearly all of the decisions about technology purchases for their home over the last year. By comparison, only a slightly higher percentage of men — 68%— reported the same.

It’s a similar story for other, more specific types of technology purchasing decisions. 

For instance, women and men equally report (66%) that, among the members of their household, they were the ones who, over the last year, made all or almost all of the decisions regarding streaming services and cable.

While 68% of women — compared to 65% of men — said they made all or almost all of the household decisions regarding wireless carriers and phone plans.

Although the share of women who decide on technology purchases is comparable to that of men overall, one notable exception is in the case of married individuals. Only about two-thirds as many married women as married men report being the ones who make the majority of the decisions about technology in their households — 43%  versus 63%, respectively.

Consistent with this, it is younger women aged 18 to 24 who, at 64%, are most likely, relative to women of other age groups, to report being the primary decision-maker in their household with respect to technology. Among the members of our sample, the majority of women aged 18 to 24 (82%) were not married.

COVID-19 Further Elevates the Importance of Female Consumers

The rising economic power of women has reshaped the consumer market, and, as shown throughout this report, the share of women who make purchasing decisions about new technology is now generally comparable to that of men. 

This means that although it’s never been a good idea to underestimate or ignore female consumers, doing so today is an especially foolish mistake. 

In fact, the unique needs and perspectives of female consumers have taken on even greater significance today in the age of COVID-19, as the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare persistent gender inequalities within many American homes. Indeed, while parents have been working remotely from home and children attending school virtually, childcare and other household duties have fallen disproportionately on women and mothers, as reported by CivicScience last spring

Tech companies would do well to keep this in mind and respond accordingly by stepping up their marketing to women for the types of devices and services that stand to be most helpful right now, such as tools for coordinating schedules, managing finances, preparing meals, delegating tasks, and practicing self-care to name a few.

Want to know how the shifting ownership of technology decisions works for buyers of your brand? Give us a bell.