Monday, January 16, 2012

The BlogHer Consumer Electronics Study: How Women Shop for Tech

I can't believe I forgot to post this here last week when we released it. I guess I was caught in the CES whirlwind.

So, BlogHer released the latest in our series of proprietary research studies, this time digging into women's perspectives on purchasing consumer electronics devices. We surveyed a BlogHer Network sample and a general population sample to see how those two groups are align and differ. As has been the case for quite some time, the two samples were directionally very similar, differing by degree more than by fundamental perspective or motivation.

The key findings include:

-I know amazing TVs were a centerpiece of CES this year, but women consider TV to be a distant third-place on the hierarchy of indispensable devices. We know we can get entertainment, communication and productivity out of single devices now, and they top our priority list.

-Women continue to identify peer advice and recommendations online as both reliably informational and highly influential. Meanwhile, we continue to turn to manufacturer and retail sites for specs and information, but do not consider that information to be influential to the final decision. Out last two studies have been on fairly technical verticals (automotive and now consumer electronics) and this distinction was stark in both studies: Manufacturer sites were a top information source, but ranked last or next-to-last for influence. You know what else continues to not get much traction as a marketing approach? Celebrity endorsements and "woman-y" products. We just like things super-fast, super-functional, and super-simple.

-Finally, there were some interesting stats about mobile usage...some surprising, some not. Mobile apps aren't yet making a dent as a top information source for tech purchases, but people are clearly reviewing online content about such purchases on their mobiles. It's a huge factor so your content better look and function well.

One other stat that I personally found very interesting was in how different groups identify themselves as shoppers. Now the #1 answer across all groups gender, age, race) is still "Price-Conscious". Clearly we are still concerned about the economy and tech devices are still a serious purchase and serious investment. But 50% of African Americans self-identify as either "early adopters" (defined as pre-ordering or buying day one) or "leading edge" adopters (defined as waiting to make sure there are no catastrophic bugs before buying). This is significantly higher than any other group. Combined with the fact that 70% of AfAms report using a mobile during the tech purchase process, and you get a picture of a highly connected highly tech-savvy population.

Anyway, I hope you will review the study, we think it reinforces a message that manufacturers and retailers still don't seem to fully embrace: Women are buying tech devices, and women want to hear from people they trust about how those devices work. And the people they trust aren't corporate spokespeople. They're "people like me".

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As a woman shopper myself, I want to make a comment about the television. Our television died last year, right before Christmas - not a good time to be having to by anything, but anyhow my husband was in awe of the 3D television, which to be honest I thought was totally stupid. Needless to say we did not buy one, but I think women are overall more practical than men on purchasing consumer electronics. I agree they are more frugal minded too, there are many things that a woman considers when making a purchase, although to be fair we can sometimes be a little stupid about shopping on other things like shoes (not me personally).
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