The New York Times has a quite interesting article by Mickey Meece on the increasing attention that sellers are paying to women, the "80% minority" who make most household purchasing decisions. For example, when Best Buy figured out that women were shaping more like 90% of consumer electronics decisions, and outspending men $55 billion to $41 billion on the kind of gadgets they sell, they redesigned their selling strategy to be more female-friendly.
The article has examples of smart sellers in industry after industry who are figuring out who they should be selling to. And more power to them. I hope they all reap a competitive advantage, and that more women get better service.
What is surprising to me about this article, though, is that all of these women are presented as doing their buying alone. No husbands or boyfriends figure in these purchasing stories. It is one thing to recognize the great importance of women buyers, and likewise to recognize the importance of women earners, who spend their own money. But it seriously distorts the picture of purchasing reality to leave men out altogether. Women do make most household purchasing decisions. But they do so mostly in married, or marriage-oriented, households, working together with their husbands.
The next step, therefore, should be when retailers figure out how to sell to couples purchasing together.