Traditionally men have taken a major part of the shopping decisions, but now times are changing. What is the influence of growing women power in deciding apparel shopping?

Traditionally in the society where men are the head of the family, it was they who took ultimate decisions. Granted, that was decades before. With the span of time, when trends changed, women took a leading role in deciding the shopping preferences. A survey taken by the Time Magazine says that women have become more powerful than they were, 40 years ago. Of the total women population, almost 40% are the primary bread winners, contributing to the substantial income of their family.

As the role of women became stronger in decision making, it had a great influence in the sales ratio of retail stores. Rise in the income level of the family, more number of working women and especially the growing independence of women have spurred the growth of retail apparel sales. Proliferation of media such as television, magazines, celebrity fashions, and movies are playing a vital role is nurturing the sales figures.

Growth Drivers:

Shopping is a special culture influenced by a lot of factors. A recent study reveals that men are more reluctant to ask for help in a retail store comparatively over their counterpart. Women are more likely to seek guidance from friends and family for making their buying decisions whereas men, resort to impersonal sources for information. Generally women enjoy shopping more than men. Women feel more responsible for the family necessities, and believe that they are better off at the same.

With the increasing number of working women, womens apparel segment, especially the western wear, and beauty products witness a high growth trajectory. To keep the positive momentum, retailers plan their in-store arrangements, and the products in such a way to lure women shoppers. A survey with shoppers shop states that womens products make up 22% of their overall revenue which was a mere 7% two years before.

Retailers attempt to entice women shoppers:

Women are a lucrative market, especially with regards to providing comfortable and cost efficient family purchases. They seek quality, ease of maintenance, and performance. A survey taken with a limited number of customers reveals some traits common among women customers; such as low price, store-loyalty, discounts, and recommendations from people of similar groups. Retailers therefore, focus of creating loyalty programs, price related appeals, print ads, product packaging and ways to enhance the shopping experience of women customers. Marketing campaigns are geared towards women. In-store arrangements with refreshment facilities and themes for entertaining kids while their mummy goes shopping are provided targeting women customers.


Women are vigilante shoppers with preset perceptions of the image, and environment of a store. They use their sense to survey, paying attention to smells, verbal exchanges among employees, lighting, other customers and dirty floors. They even observe the paint, curtains, window coverings, and related accessories of the store. Retailers are now positioning their products in way that is responds to the concerns of women, with their core-competency of targeting the middle and upper middle class women. In an attempt to boost their high end profile, international brands are also seen in their store racks.

On an average, almost half of the shopping customers are women, and they also have much influence in buying decisions. Retailers should develop innovative and respectful ways to connect with them so as to succeed in building a loyal female shopper.