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Women have on average 31% less disposable income than men globally: Euromonitor International

Women have the final say when it comes to purchasing decisions and are more likely to try new products, search for bargains and treat themselves to small indulgences

As International Women’s Day dawns in 2024 women worldwide have an average of 31% less disposable income than men, according to an expert at Euromonitor International.

International Women’s Day is about celebrating the impact and accomplishments of women and eliminating the stereotypes of the traditional, socially constructed roles women are expected to have in life. It is a chance to reflect on the equal opportunities for women and men globally.

Jacques Olivier, Research Consultant at Euromonitor International, said since the Millennium women had made huge strides forward in higher education, women headship and healthy life expectancy but are still significantly lagging when it comes to disposable income.

“Despite the fact that real income growth over the last five years was higher for women, women’s average disposable income remains 31% lower than those of men worldwide. Income inequality remains one of the most significant obstacles faced by woman in reaching gender equality,” said Olivier.

“While women still trail behind their men counterparts in terms of disposable incomes, women in North America have seen the largest increase with an uplift of 38% in their disposable incomes, compared to the global average of 23%, over the last five years.

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Women students in higher education up by 169% and healthy female life expectancy is longer

Olivier said that since the start of the millennium, the number of women students in higher education institutions has increased by 169%.

“The number of women students has not only overtaken but also surpassed the number of men students, by 13.9 million in 2023.”

Olivier added that overall healthy female life expectancy is two years higher than that of males and, compared with men, fewer women were struggling with high blood pressure or high blood glucose and fewer are dying from bronchitis and asthma, diseases or respiratory conditions.

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More women household heads and women have the final say when it comes to purchasing decisions

Olivier explained that over the last five years the number of women household heads grew much faster than men, showing their ability and capability to lead and provide for their families. The most rapid growth was seen in Latin America, where 40% of households are now headed by women.

According to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyle Survey 2023, women have the final say when it comes to purchasing decisions. Compared to men, they are more willing to try new products and services, actively search for bargains and treat themselves to small indulgences. They are also more driven by social or political beliefs in their purchasing decisions.

empowerment is becoming a key value driver in the fashion industry, it is becoming critical for brands to develop narratives highlighting this in their marketing and social media as well as their product and service offering, to win despite challenging market conditions.

As a way to mark International Women’s Day in China, many companies are granting women a half day off work, while retailers and brands including Tmall and JD’s ‘3.8 shopping festival’ will offer special discounts and promotions encouraging women to treat themselves with beauty products and underwear.

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Paris Olympics 2024 driving focus on women’s health and fitness

The focus on health and wellness boosted by the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics will continue to drive the appeal of sportswear among women consumers this year. While 58% global women consumers state they walk or hike at least once/week, 34% state they cycle and 39% run or jog at the same frequency according to the Voice of the Consumer, Lifestyle Survey, 2023.

The perception of beauty has changed in recent years, towards one of emotional wellness with more than 40% global respondents ranking beauty as health, inner confidence and comfortable in your own skin, reveals Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer, Beauty Survey, 2023.

Brands need to develop products with these motivations in mind and invest in emotive branding with messages around comfort, inclusivity and self-acceptance.

Some 36% of women consumers globally admit buying small treats as they feel they deserve them while 55% prefer to shop in stores that provide engaging experiences - a shopping journey that sparks joy and offers more payment options such as buy now, pay later (BNPL).

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Worldwide sales of womenswear to reach USD 757 billion by 2028

Global sales of womenswear are set to grow by 5% in 2023-28 to reach USD 757 billion in 2028. Underwear, leggings, tops and dresses are set to be the top performing categories largely driven by demand in APAC and North America.

For 55% of women globally, comfort remains the top reason for buying apparel and footwear followed by perfect fit and price.

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Retailers’ green credentials is increasingly important to women

Marguerite Le Rolland, Head of Apparel and Footwear at Euromonitor International, said building green and social credentials has become more imperative for fashion players to not only comply with the changing regulations in the EU and some US states but also to gain the favor of women consumers.

47% of women consumers claim they try to have a positive impact on the environment through everyday actions while 28% say they would boycott a brand or company that does not align with their social values and political beliefs.

“In the current context of high-inflation, economic headwinds and political uncertainty, fashion brands need to develop products and campaigns with messages around comfort, inclusivity, and self-love. The #metoo movement and greater focus on body positivity and women’s health have indeed completely changed the narrative and product offering in womenswear, in recent years.

In fact, the omnipresence of corsets that do not oppress but celebrate natural curves from the Balenciaga runway to Tik Tok, and the huge impact of Zendaya wearing that robot-inspired ‘armour’ from Mugler’s 1995 archives at the Dune II premiere in London, suggests how much demand there is for fashion items that celebrate sexy but strong women, in full control of their body image”

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