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Attention Marketers: U.S. Women Are Eager to Hear From You

4 minute read | November 2019

Think about everything you have to get done today. If you’re a woman, chances are pretty high that you’ll have to work a little harder than men will to get it all done. In fact, you might even need to do it better just to measure up. Yet despite the countless responsibilities and challenges that women have in a given week, they’re voracious consumers of media. In an average week, the 156+ million women in the U.S. consume just shy of 73 hours of media—that’s five more hours of media than men.

That’s five additional hours of opportunity for brands, marketers and media owners alike. And knowing that they drive 70%-80% of consumer purchases, their total media consumption is more than simply an open door for any company looking to help them lighten their daily load and compete for their business.

Lightening the load, however, means helping women with the challenges they face—not developing campaigns awash in pink that fuel harmful stereotypes. Striking the right balance has a substantial upside, as advertisers that engage with women in meaningful ways across platforms and channels will undoubtedly reap the benefits.

Across media options, TV remains the overwhelming favorite, as it accounts for eight out of every 10 minutes of media consumed. In the month of January of this year, Americans watched 36.5 billion hours of linear (scheduled programming) television. They also watched 9 billion hours of over-the-top video. And when we look at total TV consumption, women have out-consumed men in each of the past four years.

Adult women in the U.S. spend almost four hours per day with live TV, which offers a prime engagement opportunity. And what’s more, they’re interested in watching even more: 29.4% of women 18 and older say they are interested or somewhat interested in watching live TV on their phones, while 14% say they would pay a monthly fee to watch live TV on their phones.

Our increased media consumption reflects the freedom that comes with connectivity and access to information, which means brands and marketers need to work harder to break through the clutter and have their messages heard. And when it comes to resonating with women, marketers and advertisers need to offer a helping hand instead of a stereotypically gender-focused product with a higher price tag.

In addition to being the right thing to do, offering that helping hand comes with significant ROI potential, simply because of household dynamics. While 93% of women in North America have shared or primary responsibility for daily shopping, household chores and food preparation, 53% of women in the U.S. say they’re the head of the household, up from a 50-50 split in 2009. Women also outnumber men in the U.S. by 6 million, which means their spending prowess is unmatched—and so is their drive to learn, achieve and succeed.

Compared with five years ago, 1.1 million more women have earned their college degrees, and there are nearly 1 million more working mothers. Women are invested in their futures, as 38% of U.S. women view their jobs as careers. And they’re seeking to go further, as 11% are investing in continuing education as adults, which is up from 3% in 2014. Their aim to move up is reshaping the workplace landscape, as 74.3 million women in the U.S. are in leadership positions, which is up from 68.3 million five years ago.

But there’s still progress to be made on the equality front. Adult men in the U.S. are still more likely to find themselves in a leadership position (63.4% vs. 57.1%). Mothers with children under 12 feel slightly better, as 65.5% say they often find themselves in a leadership position. Perhaps that’s because they’re significantly more likely to attend adult continuing education classes and pursue additional school degrees.

Given the amount of media that women consume, it’s important that brands, creative agencies and advertisers know the value of their messages. Importantly, women in the U.S. are more likely to consider TV advertising as a source of meaningful and useful product and service information than men. So right out of the gate, advertisers have better odds with women than men. And when advertisers strike the right chord with their intended audiences, their odds improve even more.

The opportunity across media is omnipresent. Adults in the U.S. spend nearly 11-and-a-half hours with media each day, and somehow our first-quarter 2019 media diet grew by 21 minutes on a year-over-year basis. So there are no barriers to engaging with consumers. And when it comes to women, they’re engaged, eager for help and have their eyes and ears open to brands offering a helping hand. 


The insights in this article were derived from the following sources:

  • Scarborough USA+ 2019 Release 1
  • Nielsen National TV Toolbox  (formerly NPOWER)
  • First-Quarter 2019 Nielsen Total Audience Report
  • Nielsen Global Survey Q3 2016

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